"The polarity in ZnO nanowires is an important issue since it strongly affects surface configuration and reactivity, nucleation and growth, electro-optical properties, and nanoscale-engineering device performances. However, measuring statistically the polarity of ZnO nanowire arrays grown by chemical bath deposition and elucidating its correlation with the polarity of the underneath polycrystalline ZnO seed layer grown by the sol–gel process represents a major difficulty. To address that issue, we combine resonant x-ray diffraction (XRD) at Zn K-edge using synchrotron radiation with piezoelectric force microscopy and polarity-sensitive chemical etching to statistically investigate the polarity of more than 107 nano-objects both on the macroscopic and local microscopic scales, respectively. By using high temperature annealing under an argon atmosphere, it is shown that the compact, highly c-axis oriented ZnO seed layer is more than 92% Zn-polar and that only a few small O-polar ZnO grains with an amount less than 8% are formed. Correlatively, the resulting ZnO nanowires are also found to be Zn-polar, indicating that their polarity is transferred from the c-axis oriented ZnO grains acting as nucleation sites in the seed layer. These findings pave the way for the development of new strategies to form unipolar ZnO nanowire arrays as a requirement for a number of nanoscale-engineering devices like piezoelectric nanogenerators. They also highlight the great advantage of resonant XRD as a macroscopic, non-destructive method to simultaneously and statistically measure the polarity of ZnO nanowire arrays and of the underneath ZnO seed layer"
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