Growth of SiO<inf>x</inf> nanowires by laser ablation

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Journal Article
Nanotechnology, 2008, 19 (6)
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Amorphous SiOx nanowires (NWs) were synthesized using laser ablation of silicon-containing targets. The influence of various parameters such as target composition, substrate type, substrate temperature and carrier gas on the growth process was studied. The NWs were characterized using high resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopes (HRSEM and HRTEM) with their attachments: electron dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and energy electron loss spectroscopy (EELS). A metal catalyst was found essential for the NW growth. A growth temperature higher than 1000°C was necessary for the NW formation using an Ar-based carrier gas at 500 Torr. The use of Ar-5%H 2 instead of pure Ar resulted in a higher yield and longer NWs. Application of a diffusion barrier on top of the Si substrate guaranteed the availability of metal catalyst droplets on the surface, essential for the NW growth. Ni was found to be a better catalyst than Au in terms of the NW yield and length. Two alternative sequences for the evolution of the amorphous SiOx NWs were considered: (a) the formation of Si NWs first and their complete oxidation afterwards, which seems to be doubtful, (b) the direct formation of SiOx NWs, which is more likely to occur. The direct formation mechanism was proposed to advance in three stages: preferential adsorption of SiOx clusters on the catalyst surface first, a successive surface diffusion to the catalyst droplet lower hemisphere, and finally the formation and growth of the NW between the catalyst and the substrate. © IOP Publishing Ltd.
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