In the hypersonic plasma particle deposition process, vapor phase reactants are injected into a plasma and rapidly quenched in a supersonic nozzle, leading to nucleation of nanosize particles. These particles impact a substrate at high velocity, forming a coating with grain sizes of 10 to 40 nm. As previously reported, coatings of a variety of materials have been obtained, including silicon, silicon carbide, titanium carbide and nitride, and composites of these, all deposited at very high rates. Recent studies have shown that slight modifications of the process can result in nanosize structures consisting of single crystal silicon nanowires covered with nanoparticles. These nanowires are believed to grow in a vapor deposition process, catalyzed by the presence of titanium in the underlying nanoparticle film. However, simultaneously nanoparticles are nucleated in the nozzle and deposited on the nanowires, leading to structures that are the result of a plasma CVD process combined with a nanoparticle spray process. The combination of these two process paths opens new dimensions in nanophase materials processing.

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