Hitherto, most research has primarily focused on improving the UV sensor efficiency via surface treatments and by stimulating the ZnO nanorod (ZNR) surface Schottky barriers. However, to the best of our knowledge, no study has yet probed the intrinsic crystal defect generation and its effects on UV sensor efficiency. In this study, we undertake this task by fabricating an intrinsic defect-prone hydrothermally grown ZNRs (S1), Ga-doped ZNRs (S2), and defect-free microwave-assisted grown ZNRs (S3). The defect states were recognized by studying X-ray diffraction and photoluminescence characteristics. The large number of crystal defects in S1 and S2 had two pronged disadvantages. (1) Most of the UV light was absorbed by the defect traps and the e–h pair generation was compromised. (2) Mobility was directly affected by the carrier–carrier scattering and phonon scattering processes. Hence, the overall UV sensor efficiency was compromised based on the defect-induced mobility-response model. Considering the facts, defect-free S3 exhibited the best UV sensor performance with the highest on/off ratio, the least impulse response time, the highest recombination time, and highest gain-induced responsivity to 368 nm UV light, which was desired of an efficient passive metal oxide-based UV sensor. Our results were compared with the recently published results.
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