SiC Nanowires Synthesized by Rapidly Heating a Mixture of SiO and Arc-Discharge Plasma Pretreated Carbon Black
© to the authors 2008
Received: 17 September 2008
Accepted: 11 November 2008
Published: 22 November 2008
SiC nanowires have been synthesized at 1,600 °C by using a simple and low-cost method in a high-frequency induction furnace. The commercial SiO powder and the arc-discharge plasma pretreated carbon black were mixed and used as the source materials. The heating-up and reaction time is less than half an hour. It was found that most of the nanowires have core-shell SiC/SiO2nanostructures. The nucleation, precipitation, and growth processes were discussed in terms of the oxide-assisted cluster-solid mechanism.
Silicon carbide (SiC) has been widely used in the fields of electronic and optic devices due to its unique properties, such as a wide band gap of 2.3–3.3 eV, high strength, and Young’s modulus, good resistance to oxidation and corrosion, excellent thermal conductivity, and electron mobility [1–4]. One-dimensional (1D) SiC materials, i.e., nanowires, nanofibers, nanorods, and nanocables have recently attracted much attention because they have been thought suitable for the fabrication of high temperature, high frequency, and high power nanoscaled electronic devices [5–9].
The first successfully synthesis of 1D SiC nanowires was in 1995 by using carbon nanotube as a template . Up to now, lots of approaches have been developed, for example, arc-discharge , laser ablation , sol–gel method , carbon thermal reduction , and chemical vapor deposition . Recently, metal catalyst assisted synthesis of 1D SiC nanostructures had also been reported [16, 17]. In most of these methods, expensive raw materials, catalysts, and sophisticated techniques were used. These drawbacks may limit the massive fabrication and application of SiC nanowires. It is still a challenge for scientists and industrials to synthesize large-scale SiC nanowires by using a simple and rapid method.
In this paper, we report a novel method to fabricate β-SiC nanowires by using a high-frequency induction furnace with a graphite tube. A mixture of commercial SiO and the carbon black powder with loose structures pretreated by an arc-discharge plasma method was used as the starting materials. After heating the source materials in graphite tube in argon atmosphere, bright blue powders can be observed in the tube, which were characterized as β-SiC nanowires with core-shell structures. The total heating-up and reaction time is less than 1 h, and more than 200 g products can obtain per day. The modified oxide-assisted cluster-solid growth mechanism was used to explain the formation of core-shell SiC/SiO2nanowires.
The fabrication of β-SiC nanowires was carried out in a high-frequency introduction furnace. First, commercial carbon black was pretreated in order to form porous and loose structures, which can make the reaction much easier. The carbon black was pressed to a carbon rod and put into an arc-discharge plasma instrument. After treating for about 1 h, a black powder with loose structures was obtained.
An energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX, INCA OXFORD) spectroscopy and an X-ray diffraction (XRD, D/MAX-RA) were used to characterize the composition and crystal structure of samples. A field-emission scanning electron microscopy (SEM, FEI SIRION 200) and a transmission electron microscopy (TEM, JEM-2010) were employed to observe the morphology and the detail structure of the nanowires.
Results and Discussion
No matter what reaction is in the ascendant, SiC can generate and provide to the nanoparticles. Since there exist sufficient silica and carbon atoms in the reaction atmosphere, the precipitation (separate out) of SiC is possible. When the reaction 3is dominant, SiO2is then the main resultant and can separate out accompanying with the growth of SiC nanocrystals. This is why SiC nanowires are wrapped by SiO2layers.
The partial supersaturation of CO gas can lead to a diameter distribution of the as-synthesized SiC nanowires [24, 25]. The CO gas is hard to be got rid of from graphite crucible in our experiment, and therefore, leads to the distribution of the diameter in as-synthesized SiC/SiO2 nanowires.
We present a simple, rapid, and low-cost method to synthesize massive β-SiC nanowires by a high-frequency induction heating procedure. A ball-milled mixture of SiO and carbon black was used as source materials. The carbon black were pretreated in an arc-discharge plasma instrument in order to form loose and porous structures. The heating-up and the reaction time is less than 1 h. The nanowires have core-shell SiC/SiO2structures in which the core of SiC crystallizes very well, whereas the SiO2has amorphous structure. The diameter of nanowires is ranged from 60 to 100 nm and the length is up to several microns. This method provides a promising candidate for industrial fabrication of β-SiC nanowires.
This work is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2006CB300406) and the Shanghai Science and Technology Grant (No: 0752nm015) as well as the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 50730008). The authors also thank the Instrumental Analysis Center of Shanghai Jiao Tong University for the Materials Characterization.
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