Aspects of bottom-up engineering : synthesis of silicon nanowires and Langmuir-Blodgett assembly of colloidal nanocrystals
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Central to the implementation of colloidal nanomaterials in commercial applications is the development of high throughput synthesis strategies for technologically relevant materials. Solution based synthesis approaches provide the controllability, high throughput, and scalability needed to meet commercial demand. A flow through supercritical fluid reactor was used to synthesize silicon nanowires in high yield with production rates of ~45 mg/hr. The high temperature and high pressure of the supercritical medium facilitated the decomposition of monophenylsilane and seeded growth of silicon nanowires by gold seeds. Crystalline nanowires with diameters of ~25 nm and lengths greater than 20 [micrometers] were routinely synthesized. Accumulation of nanowires in the reactor resulted in deposition of a conformal amorphous shell on the crystalline surface of the wire. X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used to determine the shell composition. The shell was identified as polyphenylsilane formed by polymerization of the silicon precursor monophenylsilane. A post synthesis etch was developed to remove the shell while still maintaining the integrity of the crystalline silicon nanowire core. Subsequent surface passivation was achieved through thermal hydrosilylation with a terminal alkene. The development colloidal nanomaterials into commercial applications also requires simple and robust bottom-up assembly strategies to facilitate device fabrication. A Langmuir-Blodgett trough was used to assemble continuous monolayers of hexagonally ordered spherical nanocrystals over areas greater than 1 cm². Patterned monolayers and multilayers of FePt nanocrystals were printed onto substrates using pre-patterned polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stamps and a modified Langmuir Schaefer transfer technique. Patterned features, including micrometer-size circles, lines, and squares, could be printed using this approach. The magnetic properties of the printed nanocrystal films were also measured using magnetic force microscopy (MFM). Room temperature MFM could detect a remanent (permanent) magnetization from multilayers (>3 nanocrystals thick) films of chemically-ordered L1₀ FePt nanocrystals. Grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering was used to quantitatively characterize the grain size, crystal structure, lattice disorder, and edge-to-edge spacing of the nanocrystal films prepared on the Langmuir-Blodgett trough both on the air-water interface and after transfer.