PerspectiveSilicon Materials

Sonochemistry of silicon hydrides

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Science  04 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6388, pp. 489-490
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8005

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Silicon hydrides (silanes) are key precursors for electronic- and solar-grade silicon and silicon nanoparticles, and are used in various other applications. Conversion of silanes to Si and hydrogen is an energy-intensive process. For example, epitaxial Si production from silanes or Si colloid production requires high temperatures (many hundred kelvin), high pressures (a few hundred bar), or both (1), which is a cost driver and limits the growth rates in methods such as chemical vapor deposition. Although trisilane (Si3H8) allows an order-of-magnitude higher Si deposition rate for semiconductor applications when compared to SiH4 at comparably low temperatures, down to ∼400°C (2), solution processing of silanes (3, 4) is desirable to avoid high vacuum, temperature, and pressure. In a series of studies, Cádiz Bedini et al. (58) have shown that applying ultrasound to liquid silicon hydrides such as Si3H8 and cyclopentasilane (Si5H10) opens a path toward tunable synthesis of silicon nanoparticles, silicon polymers, as well as higher silanes at ambient temperature and pressure conditions.