Titanium-assisted growth of silica nanowires: From surface-matched to free-standing morphologies

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Journal Article
Nanotechnology, 2011, 22 (40)
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We report on an oxide-assisted growth technique for silica nanowires which allows tuning the growth from surface-matched nanowires to free-standing morphologies based on growth control by Ti in the role of a catalyst and surfactant. Using an adjustable Ti concentration, we grew silica nanowires with lengths ranging from 100nm up to several millimetres whose defect chemistry was analysed by electron microscopy tools, monochromatic cathodoluminescence imaging and time resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy. The knowledge of the luminescence properties and the related defect occurrence along with their spatial distribution is pivotal for advancing silica nanowire growth in order to realize successful device designs based on self-assembled Si/SiOx nanostructures. We demonstrate a core-shell structure of the grown nanowires with a highly luminescent 150nm thick shell and outstandingly fast decaying dynamics (≈1ns) for glass-like materials. The conjunction of the observed efficient and stable luminescences with their attributed decaying behaviours suggests applications for silica nanowires such as active and passive optical interconnectors and white light phosphors. The identification of a time domain difference for the spectral regime from 2.3 to 3.3eV, within the confined spatial dimensions of a single nanowire, is very promising for future, e.g.data transmission applications, employing silica nanowires which exhibit achievable compatibility with commonly applied silicon-based electronics. A qualitative growth model based on silica particle diffusion and Ti-assisted seed formation is developed for the various types of segregated silica nanowires which extends commonly assumed oxide-assisted growth mechanisms. © IOP Publishing Ltd.
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