Open Access Nano Express

Surface charges and optical characteristic of colloidal cubic SiC nanocrystals

Yong Li124, Changxin Chen3*, Jiang-Tao Li1*, Yun Yang1 and Zhi-Ming Lin1

Author Affiliations

1 Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100190, PR China

2 Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100039, PR China

3 National Key Laboratory of Nano/Micro Fabrication Technology, Key Laboratory for Thin Film and Microfabrication of the Ministry of Education, Research Institute of Micro/Nano Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, PR China

4 P.O. Box 7220, Beijing 100072, PR China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:454  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-454

Published: 15 July 2011

Abstract

Colloidal cubic silicon carbide (SiC) nanocrystals with an average diameter of 4.4 nm have been fabricated by anisotropic wet chemical etching of microsized cubic SiC powder. Fourier transform infrared spectra show that these cubic SiC nanocrystals contain carboxylic acid, SiH, CH, and CHx groups. UV/Vis absorption and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy clearly indicate that water and ethanol colloidal suspensions of the as-fabricated colloidal samples exhibit strong and above band gap blue and blue-green emissions. The cubic SiC nanocrystals show different surface charges in water and ethanol solutions due to the interaction of water molecules with polar Si-terminated surfaces of cubic SiC nanocrystals. The results explain the distinctive optical characteristics of colloidal cubic SiC nanocrystals in water and ethanol, and reveal that quantum confinement and surface charges play a great role in determining the optical characteristics of colloidal cubic SiC nanocrystals.

Keywords:
cubic SiC nanocrystals; surface charges; photoluminescence; quantum confinement