Mn-doped (2.6–4.8 at%) aligned zinc oxide (Mn:ZnO) nanorod-films were synthesized by hybrid wet chemical route onto glass substrates. The chemical composition, structural, microstructural and magnetic studies were performed to investigate the origin of observed room temperature ferromagnetism (0.11 μB/Mn) in these Mn doped ZnO nanorod-films. XPS studies indicated that incorporated Mn was in Mn2+ and Mn4+ states. Mn2+ atomic concentration was found to be significantly larger than Mn4+ concentration in all the samples. Disappearance of the Raman peak at 577 cm−1 arising due to the Zn interstitials may be related to the substitution of Mn2+ in the Zn2+ site with annealing. Thus, Mn metal inclusions as Mn2+ in the ZnO lattice are possibly responsible for such large magnetic moment in the films.
► Mn-doped aligned zinc oxide (Mn:ZnO) nanorod-films were synthesized by hybrid wet chemical route. ► Increase in atomic concentration of Mn (2.6–4.8 at%) did not affect vertical alignment. ► No observable secondary phases were present in the films. ► M–H hysteresis curves indicated that saturation magnetization (MS) increased with Mn concentration. ► Substitution of Mn2+ in the Zn2+ site was responsible for the observed room temperature ferromagnetism.