Large quantities of single-crystalline ZnO nanorods and nanotubes have been prepared by the microwave irradiation of a metalorganic complex of zinc, in the presence of a surfactant. The method is simple, fast, and inexpensive (as it uses a domestic microwave oven), and yields pure nanostructures of the hexagonal würtzite phase of ZnO in min, and requires no conventional templating. The ZnO nanotubes formed have a hollow core with inner diameter varying from 140-160 nm and a wall of thickness, 40-50 nm. The length of nanorods and nanotubes varies in the narrow range of 500-600 nm. These nanostructures have been characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and selected area electron diffraction (SAED). The ZnO nanorods and nanotubes are found by SAED to be single-crystalline. The growth process of ZnO nanorods and nanotubes has been investigated by varying the surfactant concentration and microwave irradiation time. Based on the various results obtained, a tentative and plausible mechanism for the formation of ZnO nanostructures is proposed.
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