Size tailoring of aqueous germanium nanoparticle dispersions†
We demonstrate a practical route to synthesize Ge nanoparticles (NPs) in multi-gram quantities via the laser pyrolysis of GeH4 gas. The size of the as-produced Ge NPs can be precisely controlled in the range of 19.0 to 65.9 nm via a subsequent etching procedure using a dilute H2O2 solution. Stable water dispersions of Ge NPs yield particles with a Ge/GeO2 core–shell structure, however, the oxide shell can easily be removed and passivated by treatment with HCl. The feed materials used in this process are readily available and lead to non-toxic, water-based dispersions of Ge NPs. The scalability and convenience of this procedure make it attractive as a method to obtain Ge NP dispersions for use in applications such as optoelectronic devices and biosensors.