In this paper ZnO nanorods and nanodots (with and without a SiO2 buffer layer) were grown on p-Si, forming p-n heterojunctions. The nanorod devices showed no visible electroluminescence (EL) emission but showed rectifying behavior. Covering around 60% of the length of the nanorods with PMMA produced an ideality factor of 3.91 +/- 0.11 together with a reverse saturation current of 6.53 +/- 4.2 x 10(-8) A. Up to two orders of magnitude rectification was observed for the current at bias -3 and 3 V. The nanodot devices showed EL emission under forward bias conditions. It seems that the buffer layer increased both the stability and efficiency of the devices, since the buffer layer device could operate at larger applied voltage and showed EL emission under reverse bias. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.