Synthesis and characterization of barium silicide (BaSi2) nanowire arrays for potential solar applications
In order to utilize nanostructured materials for potential solar and other energy-harvesting applications, scalable synthetic techniques for these materials must be developed. Herein we use a vapor phase conversion approach to synthesize nanowire (NW) arrays of semiconducting barium silicide (BaSi2) in high yield for the first time for potential solar applications. Dense arrays of silicon NWs obtained by metal-assisted chemical etching were converted to single-crystalline BaSi2 NW arrays by reacting with Ba vapor at about 930 °C. Structural characterization by X-ray diffraction and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy confirm that the converted NWs are single-crystalline BaSi2. The optimal conversion reaction conditions allow the phase-pure synthesis of BaSi2 NWs that maintain the original NW morphology, and tuning the reaction parameters led to a controllable synthesis of BaSi2 films on silicon substrates. The optical bandgap and electrochemical measurements of these BaSi2 NWs reveal a bandgap and carrier concentrations comparable to previously reported values for BaSi2 thin films.