Carbon-assisted synthesis of inorganic nanowires
Nanowires of a variety of inorganic materials such as metal oxides, sulfides, nitrides and carbides have been synthesized and characterized in the last three to four years. Among the several strategies developed for the synthesis of these materials, the carbothermal route is noteworthy since it provides a general method for preparing crystalline nanowires of many of these materials which include oxides such as ZnO, Al2O3 and Ga2O3, nitrides such as AlN and Si3N4, and carbides such as SiC. The method itself is quite simple and involves heating a mixture of an oxide with carbon in an appropriate atmosphere. The method has enabled the synthesis of crystalline nanowires of both silica and silicon. In the case of GaN, it has been possible to dope it with Mn, Mg and Si to bestow useful optical and magnetic properties. In this article, highlights of the recent results on the carbon-assisted synthesis of inorganic nanowires are presented.