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Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods were grown through chemical bath deposition tech- nique on different substrates, such as highly p-doped silicon microstructures, low p-doped silicon and silicon dioxide. High voltage (up to 80 V) induced plasma formation is reported with high intensity arcs of characteristic blue light. Easy and reproducible plasma formation is obtained on patterned microstructures of highly doped silicon. Both DC stress and AC stress with variable frequency were applied (up to 10 KHz) as well as short duration pulses (from 1 to 100 μs) to the pads of the silicon microstructures causing excitation of free electrons in the plasma and more atomic transitions to be present compared to the DC case.