Synthesis and morphology control of ZnO nanostructures in microemulsions

Xiangcun Li, Gaohong He, Gongkui Xiao, Hongjing Liu, Mei Wang

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157 Citations (Scopus)


ZnO nanostructures with different morphologies and optical properties were prepared by a simple microemulsion process, and PEG400 was used as a directing agent. The samples were characterized by TEM, XRD, FTIR, and TG-DTA analysis. The XRD spectra indicate that the ZnO crystal has a hexagonal wurtzite structure. Needle-like, columnar, and spherical ZnO samples were synthesized respectively with the increase of PEG400 concentration in Zn(NO3)2 solution. TEM images and thermogravimetric analysis reveal that the microemulsion interface and the PEG400 agent have a synergistic effect on the morphology and crystalline size transition of ZnO nanostructures. The optical properties of the samples were investigated by measuring the UV-Vis absorbance spectra at room temperature. All the samples exhibit strong UV absorption at around 365 nm. ZnO products with band gap energies at 3.06, 3.02, 2.95, and 2.85 eV were obtained with 0, 12.5, 25.0, and 50.0% of PEG400 in Zn(NO3)2 solution, respectively. The formation mechanism of the ZnO nanostructures was proposed and discussed in detail. The synergistic control of the microemulsion interface and the agent on the growth of crystal nuclei reported here provides an alternative approach for preparation of other well-defined nanostructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-473
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


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