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Science. 1998 Jan 9;279(5348):208-11.

A laser ablation method for the synthesis of crystalline semiconductor nanowires

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  • 1A. M. Morales, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. C. M. Lieber, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridg.


A method combining laser ablation cluster formation and vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth was developed for the synthesis of semiconductor nanowires. In this process, laser ablation was used to prepare nanometer-diameter catalyst clusters that define the size of wires produced by VLS growth. This approach was used to prepare bulk quantities of uniform single-crystal silicon and germanium nanowires with diameters of 6 to 20 and 3 to 9 nanometers, respectively, and lengths ranging from 1 to 30 micrometers. Studies carried out with different conditions and catalyst materials confirmed the central details of the growth mechanism and suggest that well-established phase diagrams can be used to predict rationally catalyst materials and growth conditions for the preparation of nanowires.

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