Byproduct-free mass production of compound semiconductor nanowires: zinc phosphide Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 IOP Publishing Ltd. A method for the mass production of compound semiconductor nanowires that involves the direct reaction of component elements in a chemical vapor deposition chamber (CVD) is presented. This method results in nanowires, without the associated production of any other byproducts such as nanoparticles or three-dimensional (3D) bulk crystals. Furthermore, no unreacted reactants remain mixed with the nanowire product in this method. This byproduct-free nanowire production thus circumvents the need to tediously purify and collect nanowires from a mixture of products/reactants after their synthesis. Demonstration made using zinc phosphide (Zn 3 P 2 ) material system as an example indicated that the direct reaction of zinc microparticles with phosphorus supplied via the vapor phase results in the production of gram quantities of nanowires. To enhance thermal transport and achieve the complete reaction of zinc microparticles, while simultaneously ensuring that the microparticles do not agglomerate into macroscale zinc particles and partly remain unreacted (owing to diffusion limitations), pellets composed of mixtures of zinc and a sacrificial salt, NH 4 Cl, were employed as the starting material. The sublimation by decomposition of NH 4 Cl in the early stages of the reaction leaves a highly porous pellet of zinc composed of only zinc microparticles, which allows for inward diffusion of phosphorus/outward diffusion of zinc and the complete conversion of zinc into Zn 3 P 2 nanowires. NH 4 Cl also aids in removal of any native oxide layer present on the zinc microparticles that may prevent their reaction with phosphorus. This method may be used to mass produce many other nanowires in a byproduct-free manner, besides Zn 3 P 2 .

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, Y., Polinnaya, R., & Vaddiraju, S.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Chen, Yixi||Polinnaya, Rakesh||Vaddiraju, Sreeram

publication date

  • May 2018