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Zinc oxide produced by Vietnam

Zinc oxideis an inorganic compound with the formula ZnO. ZnO is a white powder that is insoluble in water, and it is widely used as an additive in numerous materials and products including rubbers, plastics, ceramics, glass, cement, lubricants, paints, ointments, adhesives, sealants, pigments, foods, batteries, ferrites, fire retardants, and first-aid tapes. Although it occurs naturally as the mineral zincite, most zinc oxide is produced synthetically.

ZnO is a wide-bandgap semiconductor of the II-VI semiconductor group. The native doping of the semiconductor due to oxygen vacancies or zinc interstitials is n-type. This semiconductor has several favorable properties, including good transparency, high electron mobility, wide bandgap, and strong room-temperature luminescence. Those properties are valuable in emerging applications for: transparent electrodes in liquid crystal displays, energy-saving or heat-protecting windows, and electronics as thin-film transistors and light-emitting diodes.

Chemical properties

Pure ZnO is a white powder, but in nature it occurs as the rare mineral zincite, which usually contains manganese and other impurities that confer a yellow to red color.

Crystalline zinc oxide is thermochromic, changing from white to yellow when heated in air and reverting to white on cooling. This color change is caused by a small loss of oxygen to the environment at high temperatures to form the non-stoichiometric Zn1+xO, where at 800 °C, x = 0.00007.

Zinc oxide is an amphoteric oxide. It is nearly insoluble in water, but it will dissolve in most acids, such as hydrochloric acid:

ZnO + 2 HCl ZnCl2 + H2O

Solid zinc oxide will also dissolve in alkalis to give soluble zincates:

ZnO + 2 NaOH + H2O Na2[Zn(OH)4]

ZnO reacts slowly with fatty acids in oils to produce the corresponding carboxylates, such as oleate or stearate. ZnO forms cement-like products when mixed with a strong aqueous solution of zinc chloride and these are best described as zinc hydroxy chlorides.This cement was used in dentistry.

ZnO also forms cement-like material when treated with phosphoric acid; related materials are used in dentistry. A major component of zinc phosphate cement produced by this reaction is hopeite, Zn3(PO4)2•4H2O.

ZnO decomposes into zinc vapor and oxygen at around 1975 °C with a standard oxygen pressure. In acarbothermic reaction, heating with carbon converts the oxide into zinc vapor at a much lower temperature (around 950 °C).

ZnO + C Zn(Vapor) + CO

Zinc oxide can react violently with aluminium and magnesium powders, with chlorinated rubber and linseed oil on heating causing fire and explosion hazard.

It reacts with hydrogen sulfide to give zinc sulfide. This reaction is used commercially.[citation needed]

ZnO + H2S ZnS + H2O

Physical properties


Zinc oxide crystallizes in two main forms, hexagonal wurtzite and cubic zincblende. The wurtzite structure is most stable at ambient conditions and thus most common. The zincblende form can be stabilized by growing ZnO on substrates with cubic lattice structure. In both cases, the zinc and oxide centers are tetrahedral, the most characteristic geometry for Zn(II). ZnO converts to therocksalt motif at relatively high pressures about 10 GPa.

Hexagonal and zincblende polymorphs have no inversion symmetry (reflection of a crystal relative to any given point does not transform it into itself). This and other lattice symmetry properties result in piezoelectricity of the hexagonal and zincblende ZnO, and pyroelectricity of hexagonal ZnO.

The hexagonal structure has a point group 6 mm (Hermann-Mauguin notation) or C6v (Schoenflies notation), and the space group is P63mc or C6v4. The lattice constants are a = 3.25 Å and c = 5.2 Å; their ratio c/a ~ 1.60 is close to the ideal value for hexagonal cell c/a = 1.633. As in most group II-VI materials, the bonding in ZnO is largely ionic (Zn2+–O2−) with the corresponding radii of 0.074 nm for Zn2+ and 0.140 nm for O2−. This property accounts for the preferential formation of wurtzite rather than zinc blende structure, as well as the strong piezoelectricity of ZnO. Because of the polar Zn-O bonds, zinc and oxygen planes are electrically charged. To maintain electrical neutrality, those planes reconstruct at atomic level in most relative materials, but not in ZnO – its surfaces are atomically flat, stable and exhibit no reconstruction. This anomaly of ZnO is not fully explained.

Mechanical properties

ZnO is a relatively soft material with approximate hardness of 4.5 on the Mohs scale. Its elastic constants are smaller than those of relevant III-V semiconductors, such as GaN. The high heat capacity and heat conductivity, low thermal expansion and high melting temperature of ZnO are beneficial for ceramics. ZnO exhibits a very long lived optical phonon E2(low) with a lifetime as high as 133 ps at 10 K.

Among the tetrahedrally bonded semiconductors, it has been stated that ZnO has the highest piezoelectric tensor, or at least one comparable to that of GaN and AlN. This property makes it a technologically important material for many piezoelectrical applications, which require a large electromechanical coupling.

Electrical properties

ZnO has a relatively large direct band gap of ~3.3 eV at room temperature. Advantages associated with a large band gap include higher breakdown voltages, ability to sustain large electric fields, lower electronic noise, and high-temperature and high-power operation. The bandgap of ZnO can further be tuned to ~3–4 eV by its alloying with magnesium oxide or cadmium oxide.

Most ZnO has n-type character, even in the absence of intentional doping. Nonstoichiometry is typically the origin of n-type character, but the subject remains controversial. An alternative explanation has been proposed, based on theoretical calculations, that unintentional substitutional hydrogen impurities are responsible. Controllable n-type doping is easily achieved by substituting Zn with group-III elements such as Al, Ga, In or by substituting oxygen with group-VII elements chlorine or iodine.

Reliable p-type doping of ZnO remains difficult. This problem originates from low solubility of p-type dopants and their compensation by abundant n-type impurities. This problem is observed with GaN and ZnSe. Measurement of p-type in "intrinsically" n-type material is complicated by the inhomogeneity of samples.

Current limitations to p-doping limit electronic and optoelectronic applications of ZnO, which usually require junctions of n-type and p-type material. Known p-type dopants include group-I elements Li, Na, K; group-V elements N, P and As; as well as copper and silver. However, many of these form deep acceptors and do not produce significant p-type conduction at room temperature.

Electron mobility of ZnO strongly varies with temperature and has a maximum of ~2000 cm2/(V•s) at 80 K. Data on hole mobility are scarce with values in the range 5–30 cm2/(V•s).



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