Growth of Metal Silicide Nanowires and Their Spintronic and Renewable Energy Applications
Metal silicides comprise a large family of refractory intermetallic materials that have diverse physical properties and many applications, including complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) devices, thin film coatings, bulk structural components, electrical heating elements, thermoelectric, and solar energy conversion. One-dimensional (1D) silicide nanomaterials, such as nanowires (NWs), are currently being investigated for potential enhancement of these applications and realizing potential new applications such as the use of magnetic skyrmion domains in spintronic device applications. However, the growth of silicide NWs is challenging due to the complex phase behaviors between metals and Si and the many stoichiometries and structures of the resulting compounds. Several synthetic approaches have been developed to overcome this challenge, as evidenced by the increasing literature reports of silicide NWs in the last decade. In this chapter, we review the various strategies currently used to directly grow free-standing silicide NWs, discuss the challenges in understanding the nucleation and growth of silicide NWs, and present the intriguing physical properties and emerging applications of silicide NWs in spintronic and renewable energy. Emphasis will be given to the physics of the recently discovered magnetic skyrmions and the recent study of magnetic B20 monosilcide NWs towards the goals of realizing their spintronics and magnetic information storage applications.