Electrical conduction mechanisms in natively doped ZnO nanowires

Shao Pin Chiu*, Yong Han Lin, Juhn-Jong Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Single-crystalline zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires (NWs) with diameters of 90-200 nm were synthesized by the thermal evaporation method. Four-probe Ti/Au electrodes were made by the standard electron-beam lithography technique, and the intrinsic resistivities, ρ(T), of individual NWs were measured over a wide range of temperature from 300 down to 0.25 K. The temperature behavior of ρ(T) between 300 and 5 K reveals that the intrinsic electrical-transport mechanisms through individual ZnO NWs are due to a combination of the thermal activation conduction and the nearest-neighbor hopping conduction processes. Three distinct activation and hopping contributions with discrete characteristic activation energies are observed. Above about 100 K, the charge transport mechanism is dominated by the thermal activation of electrons from the Fermi level, μ, to the conduction band. Between approximately 20 and 100 K, the charge transport mechanism is due to the activation of electrons from μ to the upper impurity (D-) band. Between approximately 5 and 20 K, the charge transport mechanism arises from the nearest-neighbor hopping conduction within the lower impurity (D) band. Such unique electrical conduction behaviors can be explained in terms of the intricate material properties (in particular, the presence of moderately high concentrations of n-type defects accompanied with a slight self-compensation) in natively doped ZnO NWs. In one heavily doped NW, a surface-related conduction process manifesting the two-dimensional attributes of quantum-interference transport phenomena is observed. The carrier concentrations in our NWs have been estimated, and they were found to lie close to the critical concentration for the Mott metal-insulator transition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015203
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2009

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