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Spontaneous Growth of ZnCO3 Nanowires on ZnO Nanostructures in Normal Ambient Environment: Unstable ZnO Nanostructures

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journal contribution
posted on 12.01.2010, 00:00 by Zhengwei Pan, Jing Tao, Yimei Zhu, Jing-Fang Huang, M. Parans Paranthaman
ZnO nanowires, one of the most investigated nanostructures that promise numerous applications in nanophotonics, opto-electronics, and energy, are generally thought to be highly stable under ambient conditions because of their oxide nature. Here, we report that ZnO nanowires are actually extremely unstable even in normal ambient environment (70% RH, and ∼350 ppm CO2) because of atmospheric corrosion. When placed on an oxide substrate (e.g., glass slide) and exposed in air, ZnO nanowires tend to react with airborne moisture and CO2 to form amorphous ZnCO3 thin films and nanowires. The factors that specially affect the corrosion of ZnO nanowires in a laboratory environment include CO2, humidity, and substrates. Our results suggest that a CO2- and/or moisture-free environment are required in order for optimal applications of ZnO nanowires.