From nucleation to nanowires: a single-step process in reactive plasmas
This feature article introduces a deterministic approach for the rapid, single-step, direct synthesis of metal oxide nanowires. This approach is based on the exposure of thin metal samples to reactive oxygen plasmas and does not require any intervening processing or external substrate heating. The critical roles of the reactive oxygen plasmas, surface processes, and plasma-surface interactions that enable this growth are critically examined by using a deterministic viewpoint. The essentials of
... The essentials of the experimental procedures and reactor design are presented and related to the key process requirements. The nucleation and growth kinetics is discussed for typical solid-liquid-solid and vapor-solid-solid mechanisms related to the synthesis of the oxide nanowires of metals with low (Ga, Cd) and high (Fe) melting points, respectively. Numerical simulations are focused on the possibility to predict the nanowire nucleation points through the interaction of the plasma radicals and ions with the nanoscale morphological features on the surface, as well as to control the localized 'hot spots' that in turn determine the nanowire size and shape. This generic approach can be applied to virtually any oxide nanoscale system and further confirms the applicability of the plasma nanoscience approaches for deterministic nanoscale synthesis and processing.