ZnO nanostructures were grown on Au-catalyzed Si silicon substrates using vapor phase transport at growth temperatures from 800 to 1150°C. The sample location ensured a low Zn vapor supersaturation during growth. Nanostructures grown at 800 and 850°C showed a faceted rodlike morphology with mainly one-dimensional (1D) growth along the nanorod axis. Samples grown at intermediate temperatures (900, 950, and 1050°C) in all cases showed significant three dimensional (3D) growth at the base of 1D nanostructures. At higher growth temperatures (1100 and 1150°C) 3D growth tended to dominate resulting in the formation of a porous, nanostructured morphology. In all cases growth was seen only on the Au-coated region. Our results show that the majority of the nanostructures grow via a vapor-solid mechanism at low growth temperatures with no evidence of Au nanoparticles at their tip, in sharp contrast to the morphology expected for the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) process often reported as the growth mechanism on Au-catalyzed Si. We see VLS growth only at 900 and 950°C. Transmission electron microscopy data indicate that the nanorods are single crystalline without gross structural defects. Luminescence data reveal strong ultraviolet emission in all samples and weak defect emission in the visible region. We discuss the growth mechanisms with reference to various models in the literature and suggest reasons for VLS growth only in a narrow temperature range. We also discuss the potential effects of the Zn oxidation reaction on the growth morphologies, aspects largely ignored in the general literature on this subject.

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