Plasma-enabled growth of single-crystalline SiC/AlSiC core-shell nanowires on porous alumina templates

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Journal Article
Crystal Growth and Design, 2012, 12 (6), pp. 2917 - 2922
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We report the catalyst-free synthesis of the arrays of core-shell, ultrathin, size-uniform SiC/AlSiC nanowires on the top of a periodic anodic aluminum oxide template. The nanowires were grown using an environmentally friendly, silane-free process by exposing the silicon supported porous alumina template to CH 4 + H 2 plasmas. High-resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopy studies revealed that the nanowires have a single-crystalline core with a diameter of about 10 nm and a thin (1-2 nm) amorphous AlSiC shell. Because of their remarkable length, high aspect ratio, and very high surface area-to-volume ratio, these unique structures are promising for nanoelectronic and nanophotonic applications that require efficient electron emission, light scattering, etc. A mechanism for nanowire growth is proposed based upon the reduction of the alumina template to nanosized metallic aluminum droplets forming between nanopores. The subsequent incorporation of silicon and carbon atoms from the plasma leads to nucleation and growth from the top of the alumina template. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
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