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Sn-Induced Synthesis of Highly Crystalline and Size-Confined Si Nanorods at Moderately High Temperatures Using Hydrogen Silsesquioxane

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posted on 2023-06-09, 16:48 authored by Griffin C. Spence, Rachel C. Barbieri, David Pate, Lisa S. Graves, Ümit Özgür, Indika U. Arachchige
Size-confined Si nanorods (NRs) have gained notable interest because of their tunable photophysical properties that make them attractive for optoelectronic, charge storage, and sensor technologies. However, established routes for fabrication of Si NRs use well-defined substrates and/or nanoscopic seeds as promoters that cannot be easily removed, hindering the investigation of their true potential and physical properties. Herein, we report a facile, one-step route for the fabrication of Si NRs via thermal disproportionation of hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ) in the presence of a molecular tin precursor (SnCl4) at a substantially lower temperature (450 °C) compared to those used in the synthesis of size-confined Si nanocrystals (>1000 °C). The use of these precursors allows the facile isolation of phase-pure Si NRs via HF etching and subsequent surface passivation with 1-dodecene via hydrosilylation. The diameters (7.7–16.5 nm) of the NRs can be controlled by varying the amount of SnCl4 (0.2–3.0%) introduced during the HSQ synthesis. Physical characterization of the NRs suggests that the diamond cubic structure is not affected by SnCl4, HF etching, and hydrosilylation. Surface analysis of NRs indicates the presence of Si0 and Sin+ species, which can be attributed to core Si and surface Si species bonded to dodecane ligands, respectively, and a systematic variation of the Si0:Si–C ratio with the NR diameter. The NRs show strong size confinement effects with solid-state absorption onsets (2.51–2.80 eV) and solution-state (Tauc) indirect energy gaps (2.54–2.70 eV) that can be tuned by varying the diameter (16.5–7.7 nm). Photoluminescence (PL) and time-resolved PL (TRPL) studies reveal size-dependent emission (1.95–2.20 eV) with short, nanosecond lifetimes across the visible spectrum, which trend closely with absorption trends seen in solid-state absorption data. The facile synthesis developed for size-confined Si NRs with high crystallinity and tunable optical properties will promote their application in optoelectronic, charge storage, and sensing studies.

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