As shown in the figure, the branched NiSi nanowires consist of branches extending from stems. The branches grow nearly perpendicular to the stem, tapering from the large stem-branch junctions to the branch tips with diameters of 5–10 nm.

Fast growth

The atomic ratio of nickel and silicon changes from 1.25:1 at the stems to 0.37:1 at the branches, indicating a gradual depletion of nickel content from the stems to the branches. The growth rate of branched NiSi NWs is estimated at up to 10 µm min–1.

The team believes that NiSi NWs with branched nanostructures could open up new opportunities in nanodevices.

The researchers presented their work in the journal Nanotechnology.