In this report, hydrothermal synthesis and the absorption properties of the cubic shaped zinc oxide nanostructures doped with different amount of yttrium (Y) metal cation (0 to 15 at.%) are demonstrated. The structural and optical properties of chemically synthesized pure and Y doped
ZnO powders are investigated by using powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron spectroscopy (FESEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) absorbance, photoluminescence (PL), and Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FT-IR). It
is found that the dopant ions stabilize in wurtzite hexagonal phase of ZnO upto the concentration of less than 6 at.%, which is mainly due to the fact that the ZnO lattice expands and the optical bandgap energy decreases at this level. Increasing the dopant concentration to greater than 6
at.% leads to a contraction of the lattice, which in turn produces a significant structural disorder evidenced by shift in the XRD peaks due to additional interstitial incorporation of Y. The vibrational modes of the metal oxide groups have been identified from the IR transmission spectra.
The optical absorption results show that the optical bandgap energy of Y:ZnO nanocrystals is much less as compared to that of the pure bulk ZnO particles. Doping ZnO with trivalent Y produces excess number of electrons in the conduction band and thus, shifts the absorption edge and narrows
down to 80 meV approximately. PL spectra are used to study the dependence of doping on the deep-level emission, which show an enhanced blue emission after Y doping. The existence of near band edge (NBE) emission and blue emission, related to zinc interstitials are observed in the luminescence
spectra of Zn1−xYxO nanostructures.
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