Properties and Applications of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles

Nanostructured materials are attaining significant attention because of their outstanding properties as comparison with same materials, comprising of a large grain. Nano is just a prefix used to describe one billionth, of something. Since NPs have unique size, shape, and morphology so they can easily interact with plants, animals, and microbes. Nanotechnology is showing its versatile applications in various fields like water decontamination, information, drug development, communication technologies and the production of stronger and lighter materials etc. Nanotechnology involves formation and use of materials at the nanometer scale by reducing bulk materials. There are various applications of nanoparticles where they show their potential to bring unlimited applications. In this article, we will learn about zinc oxide nanoparticles structure, properties and applications.

Properties and Applications of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles

Different product regions with end-products containing various types of Nanoparticles are

  • Dyes and coatings
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Catalysts and oils for lubrication
  • Sports products and fabrics
  • Food packing
  • Medical products
  • Food and nutritional constituents
  • Construction materials

Since NPs have unique magnetic, mechanical, optical and electrical properties, so they have started gaining interest in various fields. Thus, these features enable them to act as a promising applicant for being used in electronics, medicine and additional fields. Metal oxides show a key role in physics and material science.  By reason of their restricted size and high density of edge surface places, they can display exceptional chemical and physical properties.

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Zinc oxide nanoparticles

Among various semiconductor metal oxides, ZO has gained much attention because of its unique properties. It is a white colored powder that is insoluble in water. ZO has typically hexagonal or wurzite structure itself and it is famous as an n-type semiconductor from II-VI group of periodic table, possessing an exciton binding energy of 60 MeV. The basic properties of zinc oxide behind its versatile applications are given below:

  1. Large band gap (3.37 eV). The benefits of large band gap include lower electronic noise and high breakdown voltages. Moreover large electric fields can be sustained due to higher value of band gap.
  2. Provides improved reactivity because of enlarged area
  3. Tremendously huge exciton binding energy (about 60 MeV)
  4. Excitons in ZO are thermally stable at room temperature
  5. It has excellent optical and electrical properties
  6. Biocompatible and biodegradable
  7. Its lesser price
  8. Large incomes in nature and non-toxicity for atmosphere
  9. Its high surface activity
  10. Can resist bacterium
  11. Have ability to shield ultraviolet radiations
  12. Can disrupt structure of cell membrane for Escherichia coli

Structure of zinc oxide

Zinc oxide is usually found in two structures, zinc blende and wurtzite. From both, the wurtzite structure is more stable and that’s why it is more common.

Properties and Applications of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles

ZO is taken as one of the finest oxide from metal oxides that can be easily handled. It is a metal oxide that shows diverse applications at nano-scale level. Its excellent optical and electrical properties have brought substantial interest for it in research community as compared to other materials, which make it a suitable and promising candidate for versatile applications. The main factors because of which it has gained high potential in many fields are its minor price, large resources in nature and non-toxicity for atmosphere. It is the supreme hopeful catalyst for humiliation of organic contaminants due to its greater surface activity, crystalline size, texture, and morphology. Unfortunately, the conductivity of un-doped ZO is thermally unstable. However, a dopant into ZO can modify its properties to operate it in multifunctional devices. There are several techniques for the Synthesis of zno nanoparticles:

  • Co-precipitation method
  • Sol-gel procedure
  • Hydrothermal and spray pyrolysis
  • Mechano-chemical processing
  • Aqueous solution deposition
  • Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)
  • Flame spray pyrolysis
  • Laser ablation technique
  • Molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)
  • Sputtering
  • Electrochemical depositions
  • Thermal decomposition
  • Combustion method

Applications of zno nanoparticles

Zinc oxide nano-particles have numerous applications. Zinc oxide nanoparticles can be used as light emitting diodes, varistors, piezoelectric transducers, surface acoustic wave devices, optoelectronic devices, ferromagnetic devices, heterogeneous photo catalysts transparent conductive pastes, photo detectors, spintronics devices, UV detectors, solar cells, gas sensor. ZO NPs are added to ceramics, glass, rubber, plastics, foods, paints and lubricants as they have high refractive index, high thermal conductivity, antibacterial and UV protection properties. They are used in medicine and coatings (due to anti-corrosive properties) and they behave as pigment and UV absorber. Zinc oxide is non-toxic itself but even then it is hazardous to inhale its fumes.

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