Indexed on: 31 Jan '15Published on: 31 Jan '15Published in: Scientific Reports
Extensive efforts have been devoted to develop innovative synthesis strategies for nanomaterials in order to exploit the true potential of nanotechnology. However, most approaches require high temperature or high pressure to favor crystallization. Here we highlight an unconventional approach for the confined-space synthesis of the single crystal TiO₂ nanowires in the atmospheric vessel at low temperature by cleverly manipulating the unique physical properties of straight-chain saturated fatty acids. Our method also applys to icosane due to its straight-chain saturated hydrocarbon structure and similar physical properties to the saturated fatty acids. Interestingly, we also found that the unsaturated fatty acids can facilitate the crystal growth, but their bent chains lead to the formation of TiO₂ particle aggregates. In addition, we demonstrate the growth of TiO₂ nanowires on arbitrary substrates, which are of great importance for their wider applications. We thus anticipate our presented method to be a possible starting point for non-classical crystallization strategies and be easily adapted for the fabrication of all other inorganic materials.