The overall decrease of the emission intensity is consistent with the reduction of the ZnO-NC average volume (i.e., size) with increasing BTK signaling inhibitor annealing temperature, as shown in Figure 3c. The decrease of the ZnO-NC ARRY-438162 concentration average volume normally results in a decrease of the ZnO-NC absorption cross section, leading to a weaker ZnO-NC luminescence. Photoluminescence of ZnO-NCs in SiO2 after the second annealing step in O2 or Ar atmosphere The RTP-annealed samples at 450°C, 500°C, and 550°C were post-annealed for 30 min in both O2 and Ar atmospheres. The PL spectra are shown
in Figure 4a,b,c. The post-annealing process was not realized for the samples annealed in RTP beyond 550°C as they presented a very weak emission. Figure 4 PL of samples going through the second annealing step in O 2 and Ar atmospheres. At (a) 450°C, (b) 500°C, and (c) at 550°C. For the sample annealed in RTP at 450°C, the PL spectra (see Figure 4a) show a remarkable change in the emission characterized by a decrease of the defect (i.e., visible) emission and the appearance of the UV emission around 378 and 396 nm. Compared to the post-annealing in Ar, the post-annealing in O2 results in a stronger decrease of the defect emission around 500 and 575 nm. This behavior strongly indicates that oxygen vacancies are
at the origin of the defect emissions in the visible region, which supports our analysis above that the defects are due to the oxygen vacancies. For the samples SB202190 annealed in RTP at 500°C, the PL spectra present a slight change in the shape of the emission. Nonetheless, the post-annealing in Ar results in an overall decrease L-gulonolactone oxidase of the emission intensity, while the post-annealing in O2 leads to an increase in the UV emission and a comparatively slight decrease in the defect emissions. The slight decrease in the defect emissions indicated that the RTP annealing at 500°C for 1 min is sufficient to form the ZnO-NC and significantly reduces the oxygen deficiency. For the sample annealed in RTP at 550°C, the post-annealing in Ar and O2 hardly presents any change in the emission spectra, except for a slight change in the intensity of the
UV emission. The post-annealing in Ar and O2 has no effect on the sample after the RTP annealing at 550°C. Conclusions To conclude, we studied ZnO nanocrystals embedded in SiO2 matrix fabricated by the sol–gel method. We have analyzed the effects of temperature and atmosphere on the annealing of such thin films. We post-annealed the samples from 450°C to 700°C under O2 or under Ar atmosphere. By looking at the effect of such annealing conditions using TEM images and PL spectra, we identify the best annealing temperature for maximizing the near-UV emission of the ZnO nanocrystals. We show that an annealing temperature of 450°C under longer annealing time and under oxygen is preferable to higher annealing temperatures and shorter times.