Colloidal synthesis of silicon nanoparticles in molten salts†
Silicon nanoparticles are unique materials with applications in a variety of fields, from electronics to catalysis and biomedical uses. Despite technological advancements in nanofabrication, the development of a simple and inexpensive route for the synthesis of homogeneous silicon nanoparticles remains highly challenging. Herein, we describe a new, simple and inexpensive colloidal synthetic method for the preparation, under normal pressure and mild temperature conditions, of relatively homogeneous spherical silicon nanoparticles of either ca. 4 or 6 nm diameter. The key features of this method are the selection of a eutectic salt mixture as a solvent, the identification of appropriate silicon alkoxide precursors, and the unconventional use of alkali earth metals as shape-controlling agents.