With the use of a modified plasma arc gas condensation technique and control of the processing parameters, namely, plasma current and chamber pressure, we synthesized tungsten oxide nanomaterials with aspect ratios ranging from 1.1 (for equiaxed particles with the length and width of 48 nm and 44 nm, respectively) to 12.7 (for rods with the length and width of 266 nm and 21 nm, respectively). The plasma current and chamber pressure, respectively, ranged from 70 to 90 A and from 200 to 600 Torr. We then characterized the tungsten oxide nanomaterials by means of X-ray diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscope, UV–visible spectroscope, and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscope. Experimental results show that equiaxed tungsten oxide nanoparticles were produced at a relatively low plasma current of 70 A, whereas nanorods were produced when plasma currents or chamber pressures were increased. All of the as-prepared tungsten oxide nanomaterials exhibited a WO2.8 phase. Compared to the nanoparticles, the nanorods exhibited unique properties, such as a redshift in the UV–visible spectrum, a blue emission in PL spectrum, and a good performance in field emission. With respect to the field emission, the turn-on voltage for WO2.8 nanorods was found to be as low as 1.7 V/μm.
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This study was supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan under contract no. NSC94-2216-E-027-008 and NSC95-2216-E-027-009. The authors would like to thank Ms. Ying-Mei Chang and Ms. Liang-Chu Wang for their technical assistance on transmission electron microscope.
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