We presented our investigations on the absorption and emission properties of the nanocrystalline ZnO particles of different particle sizes (2 nm∼5 nm) by sol–gel method. In the room temperature PL spectra, three emission bands, ultraviolet (UV), blue and green were observed.
With increasing the particle sizes, both the UV and the visible emission bands shifted to lower energies progressively. From the size-dependency, there was a linear relationship between the energetic maxima of the UV and the green emission bands with a slope of about 0.26, which indicated
that the green luminescence of ZnO was produced by the transitions of electrons from deep level to the valence band (or shallow acceptor level). A linear dependence was also found between the energetic maxima of the UV and the blue emissions with a slope of 0.15, the origin this blue emission
band is not clear at present. While in van Dijken et al.'s paper, however, they identified only two emission bands in the emission spectra, an UV and a broad visible emission band, and the linear fit between the energetic maxima of these two bands in particles of different sizes has a slope
of 0.6, so they proposed that the visible emission in ZnO was originated from the recombination of a shallowly trapped electron with a deeply trapped hole. We attributed this divergence to the fact that the broad visible band is actually composed of two separate emission bands originated from
two different recombination processes, and should not had been treated as one emission band.
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