Nanotech 2010

Spontaneous Dry Growth of SiO2 Nanofibers

A. Tricoli, M. Righettoni, F. Krumeich, W.J. Stark, S.E. Pratsinis
Particle Technology Laboratory, Institute of Process Engineering, CH

Keywords: fibers, SiO2, flame synthesis, anti-fogging, super-hydrophilic


Large scale synthesis of nanofibers bears enormous scientific and industrial interest. In fact, mechanical strength, specific surface area and purity increase with decreasing nanowire size allowing fabrication of novel ultrahigh strength materials, optical guidelines, sensors, light-emitting diodes, solar cells and field-effect transistors. However, nanowire fabrication is still cumbersome requiring often metal catalysts such as via vapor-liquid-solid growth or nano-templates as via organic-inorganic self-assembly. In this paper, we demonstrate the spontaneous growth of dielectric SiO2 nanofibers/wires from commercial glass via a scalable dry method that does not require any pre-treatment of the substrate surface. Rapid functionalization of the fiber surfaces allows switching between super-hydrophilic and -hydrophobic coatings. Furthermore, the fibers can serves as nanotemplate for the rapid synthesis of a large variety of 1D nanstructured material such as carbon.
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