Keywords: silica nanowires, active oxidation, metal dopants, erbium, secondary growth, nanotechnology, metallic surface doping, nanostructures, metallic nanoparticles, thermal processing
Metallic surface doping of SiOx nanowires
Utilising active oxidation processes at higher temperatures and low O2 partial pressures, a dense layer of sub–stoichiometric silica nanowires can be readily fabricated directly from an underlying metal coated Si substrate. These unique surfaces are thermally and chemically robust, providing an ideal supporting substrate for secondary materials for a range of applications, including photocatalysis and sensing. In this report we discuss methods to incorporate volume and surface metallic dopants via ion implantation into and onto these unique nanostructures. At higher temperatures, these dopants form metallic nanoparticles on the nanowire surface and when re–subjected to an active oxidation environment result in the onset of secondary nanowire growth. The incorporation of metallic Er3+ ions is used to optically probe the doping properties, including incorporation and agglomeration. Evidence for metal dopant incorporation during the nanowire growth is presented suggesting that hierarchically doped nanostructured silica surfaces can be readily grown via simple thermal processing.