Dissociation of tetramethylsilane for the growth of SiC nanocrystals by atmospheric pressure microplasma

Atta Ul Haq, Philip Lucke, Jan Benedikt, Paul Maguire, Davide Mariotti

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We report on mass spectrometry of residual gases after dissociation of tetramethylsilane (TMS) during the synthesis of silicon carbide (SiC) nanocrystals (NCs) by an atmospheric pressure microplasma. We use these results to provide details that can contribute to the understanding of the formation mechanisms of NCs. Mass spectrometry reveals the presence of high-mass polymerization products supporting the key role of neutral fragments and limited atomization. On this basis, we found that the loss of methyl groups from TMS, together with hydrogen abstraction, represents important paths leading to nucleation and growth. The combination of TMS concentration and NC residence time controls the NC mean size and the corresponding distributions. For higher precursor concentrations, the reaction kinetics is sufficiently fast to promote coalescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900243
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPlasma Processes and Polymers
Issue number5
Early online date2 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 4 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support from the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (RAPID-ITN, Award No. 606889) and from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, Award No. EP/R023638/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Plasma Processes and Polymers published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • atmospheric pressure plasma
  • mass spectrometry
  • nanocrystals
  • silicon carbide
  • tetramethylsilane


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