SiC nanowires were produced from carbon nanotubes and nanosize silicon powder in a tube furnace at temperatures between 1100°C and 1350°C. SiC nanowires had average diameter of 30 nm and very narrow size distribution. The surface of the SiC nanowires is covered by an amorphous layer composed of amorphous SiC and various carbon and silicon compounds. The objective of the research was to modify the surface structure of the SiC nanowires, a step necessary for future surface functionalization. The acid etched nanowires were analyzed using FTIR, TEM, x-ray diffraction, and photoluminescence. The concentration of Si-Ox groups in untreated specimens was estimated to account for 1% of the total mass of a 2 nm thick amorphous layer wrapping around all structures. After treatment in HF this concentration was negligibly small. TEM images show that after treatment the amorphous layer was removed but the diameter of the core remained unchanged. The surface was roughened and multiple pits formed on that surface. X-ray line broadening analysis indicates a significant contribution due to stress caused by dislocations and planar faults. After acid etching line narrowing was observed and attributed to stress reduction and elimination of the smallest wires. The photoluminescence signal from as received samples was very weak but increased greatly after acid treatment, indicating that the signal is related to surface defects. Measurements at low temperatures, 8 K, showed peaks due to point and planar defects.
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