Novel flower-like nanostructures consisting of silicon oxide nanofibers, radially attached to a single catalytic particle, were generated by solid-solid and gas-solid reactions under a temperature gradient. In this process, a mixture of SiC and Co powders, deposited on silica substrates and heated under an Ar/CO atmosphere at ca. 1500°C, produced material with unusual three-dimensional (3D) networks of nanofibers of uniform diameter (ca. 20-120 nm) and length (ca. 10-250 μm). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), X-ray powder diffraction and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyses reveal that the nanofibres are amorphous and consist only of silicon oxide, generated from the reaction of CO with SiC. Nanostructure formation is catalyzed by Co particles, which act as nucleation sites and templates for 3D growth. Experiments using Si3N4 and Si in conjunction with other catalysts (e.g. Fe, Ni and CoO) yield similar results and confirm that the resulting SiOx fibres display virtually unique and remarkable radial growth starting from single metal particles. These structures exhibit morphologies comparable to radiolarian and diatom skeletons and may provide insight into the formation of microbiological systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Chemistry