Growth of Ge nanowires from Au-Cu alloy nanoparticle catalysts synthesized from aqueous solution

Justin G. Connell, Zakaria Y. Al Balushi, Kwonnam Sohn, Jiaxing Huang, Lincoln J. Lauhon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Elemental metal nanoparticles are widely used to catalyze semiconductor nanowire growth, but size-controlled alloy nanoparticles have not been explored in this context. We present a simple aqueous synthesis of Au-Cu2O core-shell nanoparticles to produce Au-Cu alloy nanoparticles of controlled size and composition by vacuum annealing. Colloidal Au nanoparticles were used as size-controlled seeds, and fine control of the Cu2O shell thickness enabled tuning of the average Au-Cu alloy composition. The alloy nanoparticles were found to catalyze Ge nanowire growth in a low-pressure chemical vapor deposition environment. The nanowire growth rate for Au-Cu nanoparticles was intermediate to that of Cu (slowest) and Au (fastest) nanoparticles under identical conditions, suggesting a vapor-solid-solid growth process. These catalysts provide a useful platform to explore the influence of catalyst phase and chemistry on nanowire growth mechanisms that determine important variables including the doping rate and junction abruptness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3360-3365
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2 2010


  • Nanoparticles and Nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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