Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Arash Takshi, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Xiaomei Jiang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvia W. Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rasim Guldiken, Ph.D.


Electrochemical Characterization, Heterojunction, Nanostructures, Organic Photovoltaics, Photoelectric Effect


Organic electronic devices are sustainable alternatives to the conventional electronics, due to their advantages of low cost, mechanical flexibility and wide range of applications. With the myriad list of organic materials available today, the opportunities to imagine new innovative devices are immense. Organic electronic devices such as OLEDs (organic light emitting diode), OPVs (Organic photovoltaics) and OFETs (organic field effect transistors) are among the leading device categories. Although OLED’s have been a huge commercial success, other categories are not lagging.

Radical thinking is necessary to improve on the current performances of these devices. One such thinking is to combine the versatile ZnO (Zinc Oxide) material to organic semiconductors. This can be achieved by exploiting the dual nature of ZnO’s semiconducting and piezoelectric property. Many devices have used ZnO in combination with organic semiconductors for applications ranging from sensors, photovoltaics, OFET’s, memory and many others. The goal of the work is to incorporate the piezoelectric nature of hydrothermally grown ZnO nanowires for Opto-electronic applications.

Although the initial research work was done on incorporating the piezo effect of bulk grown ZnO nanowires in improving the efficiency of an OPV, we discovered a unique memory effect in this device by incorporating ZnO nanowires in an inverted organic photovoltaic architecture. The device switched between a rectifying response in dark to resistive behavior under illumination with a finite transition time and was reversible. Since then we decided to explore few of the opto-electronic applications of this technology.

The synthesis and characterization of crystalline ZnO nanowires, nanoforest and planar ZnO nanofilm are reported along with the application of these ZnO nanostructures in optoelectronic devices. Noncentro symmetry of crystalline ZnO nanostructures makes it an excellent candidate to be used as piezo functional material and these nanostructures are characterized using electrochemical cell containing ZnO electrode as the working electrode.

ZnO nanostructures like nanowires, nanoforest and planar nanofilm are similarly characterized for piezo property using electrochemical technique. Different devices require distinguishing physical and electrical properties of ZnO nanostructures, hence morphology, effect of pre-strain, surface area, surface coverage and thickness of these nanostructures were evaluated for its piezoresponse. It is shown that it was possible to obtain similar piezoresponse among different ZnO nanostructures in addition to taking advantage of the structural benefits among various categories of nanostructures as per requirement.

The presented research can be used as the proof-of-the-concept that ZnO nanostructures can be designed and fabricated with a prestrain to adjust the piezo response of the material under external forces. Therefore, the structure with the prestrain can be employed in various electronic and optical devices where the piezo voltage can be used for adjusting the energy band bending at an interface.