Synthesis and characterization of silicon and germanium nanowires, silica nanotubes, and germanium telluride/tellurium nanostructures



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A supercritical fluid-liquid solid (SFLS) nanowire growth process using alkanethiol-coated Au nanoparticles to seed silicon nanowires was developed for synthesizing silicon nanowires in solution. The organic solvent was found to significantly influence the silicon precursor decomposition in solution. 46.8 mg of silicon nanowires with 63% yield of silicon nanowire synthesis were achieved while using benzene as a solvent. The most widely used metal for seeding Si and Ge nanowires is Au. However, Au forms deep trap in both Si and Ge and alternative metal seeds are more desirable for electronic applications. Different metal nanocrystals were studied for Si and Ge nanowire synthesis, including Co, Ni, CuS, Mn, Ir, MnPt3, Fe2O3, and FePt. All eight metals have eutectic temperatures with Si and Ge that are well above the nanowire growth temperature. Unlike Au nanocrystals, which seed nanowire growth through the formation of a liquid Au:Si (Au:Ge) alloy, these other metals seed nanowires by forming solid silicide alloys, a process we have called “supercritical fluid-solid-solid” (SFSS) growth. Moreover, Co and Ni nanoparticles were found to catalyze the decomposition of various silane reactants that do not work well to make Si nanowires using Au seeds. In addition to seeding solid nanowires, CuS nanoparticles were found to seed silica nanotubes via a SFSS like mechanism. 5% of synthesized silica nanotubes were coiled. Heterostructured nanomaterials are interesting since they merge the properties of the individual materials and can be used in diverse applications. GeTe/Te heterostructures were synthesized by reacting diphenylgermane (DPG) and TOP-Te in the presence of organic surfactants. Aligned Te nanorods were grown on the surface facets of micrometer-size germanium telluride particles.