Single crystalline nanowires composed of semiconducting metal oxides formed via a vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) process exhibit an electrical conductivity even without an intentional carrier doping, although these stoichiometric metal oxides are ideally insulators. Suppressing this unintentional doping effect has been a challenging issue not only for metal oxide nanowires but also for various nanostructured metal oxides toward their semiconductor applications. Here we demonstrate that a pure VLS crystal growth, which occurs only at liquid-solid (LS) interface, substantially suppresses an unintentional doping of single crystalline SnO2 nanowires. By strictly tailoring the crystal growth interface of VLS process, we found the gigantic difference of electrical conduction (up to 7 orders of magnitude) between nanowires formed only at LS interface and those formed at both LS and vapor-solid (VS) interfaces. On the basis of investigations with spatially resolved single nanowire electrical measurements, plane-view electron energy-loss spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations, we reveal the gigantic suppression of unintentional carrier doping only for the crystal grown at LS interface due to the higher annealing effect at LS interface compared with that grown at VS interface. These implications will be a foundation to design the semiconducting properties of various nanostructured metal oxides.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering