Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 321–326 | Cite as

Synthesis and characterization of amorphous SiO2 nanowires directly grown on Cu substrates

  • Arancha Gomez-Martinez
  • Francisco Márquez
  • Carmen Morant
Original Paper: Nano-structured materials (particles, fibers, colloids, composites, etc.)


A novel procedure for the growth of Silica nanowires directly from Cu substrates is reported. The single-step synthesis procedure consists of a thermal treatment at 900 °C in Ar-H2 atmosphere, without the need for additional catalysts. Nanowires grow from Cu protrusions generated on the surface during annealing via Vapor–Liquid–Solid method, giving rise to a branched structure. These SiO2 nanostructures present an amorphous structure as evidenced by transmission electron microscopy. Silica nanowires grown on Cu and Si substrates have been characterized by XPS. Additionally, room-temperature photoluminescence measurements show a blue-green emission peak at ca. 509 nm (2.44 eV) attributed to oxygen deficiencies in the structure. The success of this procedure allows for future possible incorporation of these nanowires in optoelectronic devices.

Graphical Abstract

New procedure for the growth of silica nanowires (SiO2NWs) directly on Cu substrates, via a single-step thermal treatment process without the need for additional catalysts. The process follows a VLS mechanism where SiO acts as the gaseous precursor of both: the SiO2NWs grown on the top Si fragment and those grown on the Cu substrate, roots-like nanowires (SiO2NRs). This synthesis permits to preserve the PL properties of the SiO2NWs on conductive Cu substrates, which could be of paramount importance in the design and implementation of integrated electronics and devices. Open image in new window


Silica nanowires Vapor–liquid–solid mechanism Photoluminescence Cu foil 



A. Gomez-Martinez wishes to acknowledge the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science for a FPI fellowship at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM). Financial support from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) under contract ENE2014-57977-C2-1-R, from the U.S. Department of Energy, through the Massie Chair Project at Turabo University, and from the U.S. Department of Defense under Grant W911NF-14-1-0046 are gratefully acknowledged. The authors thank the technical assistance of I. Poveda from the “Servicio Interdepartamental de Investigacion (SIdI)” at UAM for SEM measurements, as well as D. Daly and EK. McCarthy for technical support at the CRANN Advanced Microscopy Laboratory, Dublin, Ireland.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Física Aplicada and Instituto Nicolás CabreraUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Nanomaterials Research Group, School of Natural Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of TuraboGuraboUSA

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