Solution phase synthesis of aluminum-doped silicon nanoparticles via room-temperature, solvent based chemical reduction of silicon tetrachloride
Mowbray, Andrew James
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We present a method of wet chemical synthesis of aluminum-doped silicon nanoparticles (Al-doped Si NPs), encompassing the solution-phase co-reduction of silicon tetrachloride (SiCl 4 ) and aluminum chloride (AlCl 3 ) by sodium naphthalide (Na[NAP]) in 1,2-dimethoxyethane (DME). The development of this method was inspired by the work of Baldwin et al. at the University of California, Davis, and was adapted for our research through some noteworthy procedural modifications. Centrifugation and solvent-based extraction techniques were used throughout various stages of the synthesis procedure to achieve efficient and well-controlled separation of the Si NP product from the reaction media. In addition, the development of a non-aqueous, formamide-based wash solution facilitated simultaneous removal of the NaCl byproduct and Si NP surface passivation via attachment of 1-octanol to the particle surface. As synthesized, the Si NPs were typically 3-15 nm in diameter, and were mainly amorphous, as opposed to crystalline, as concluded from SAED and XRD diffraction pattern analysis. Aluminum doping at various concentrations was accomplished via the inclusion of aluminum chloride (AlCl 3 ); which was in small quantities dissolved into the synthesis solution to be reduced alongside the SiCl4 precursor. The introduction of Al into the chemically-reduced Si NP precipitate was not found to adversely affect the formation of the Si NPs, but was found to influence aspects such as particle stability and dispersibility throughout various stages of the procedure. Analytical techniques including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), FTIR spectroscopy, and ICP-optical emission spectroscopy were used to comprehensively characterize the product NPs. These methods confirm both the presence of Al and surface-bound 1-octanol in the newly formed Si NPs.