A crystal growth of hydrothermal ZnO nanowires essentially requires a concentration control within so-called “concentration window”, where the anisotropic crystal growth of ZnO nanowires preferentially occurs. Although understanding what exactly determines the width of “concentration window” is important to tailor the anisotropic crystal growth process, the fundamental knowledge as to “concentration window” is still scarce. Here we report the effect of ammonia addition on the width of “concentration window” using conventional hydrothermal ZnO nanowire growth. We found that the ammonia addition substantially narrows the width of “concentration window”. Within the narrow range of zinc complex concentration, we found a significant increase of growth rate (up to 2000 nm/h) of ZnO nanowires. The narrowed “concentration window” and the resultant increased growth rate by the ammonia addition can be understood in terms of synchronized effects of both (1) a reduction of zinc hydroxide complex (precursor) concentration and (2) a fast rate limiting process of ligand exchange between different zinc complexes. Thus, the present knowldege as to “concentration window” will accelerate further tailoring an anisotropic crystal growth of hydrothermal ZnO nanowires.
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