Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



A large factor in the decision of using solar systems over readily available fossil fuels and other energy production methods is the upfront cost of solar systems. Therefore a potentially low cost energy harvesting device has been proposed in the form of a hybrid organic-inorganic thermoelectric solar cell. The proposed device uses two different inorganic materials as the top and bottom contacts, and an organic material between the two contacts as a light absorber. The two contacts proposed are Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanowires and Bismuth Telluride (BiTe) nanowires, and the organic light absorber is a semiconductor porphyrin. To further develop and design this device, the two contact materials need to be characterized and further developed. This manuscript focuses on the growth and characterization of the ZnO nanowires as the top contact. Interestingly, during the development and characterization of the ZnO nanowires, another nanostructure was unexpectedly grown and was also characterized. The second structure was determined to be a two dimensional ZnO nanoplatelet. It was observed the two structures share the same crystal structure and both can be grown at atmospheric pressure in a low energy growth process. The characterization methods used to characterize the two ZnO structures were electron microscopy including Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM), diffraction pattern analysis via TEM, Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) via TEM, X-Ray Diffraction Analysis (XRD), absorption spectral analysis, and I-V curves via Contact Atomic Force Microscopy (CAFM).


ZnO, Nanostructure, Characterization, Nanowire, Nanoplatelet

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Balakrishnan, Ganesh

Second Committee Member

Jiang, Ying-Bing