Sol-flame synthesis of hybrid metal oxide nanowires

Yunzhe Feng, In Sun Cho, Lili Cai, Pratap Mahesh Rao, Xiaolin Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hybrid metal oxide nanowires (NWs), with small characteristic diameter and large aspect ratio, can have unique and yet tunable chemical, optical and electrical properties by independently controlling the chemical compositions and morphologies of the individual components. Such hybrid NWs are promising building blocks in many applications, such as catalysis, sensors, batteries, solar cells and photoelectrochemical devices. However, these applications are hindered by the lack of scalable and economic methods for the synthesis of hybrid NWs. Here, we report a simple, scalable and new sol-flame method to synthesize various hybrid metal oxide NWs, including nanoparticle-shell decorated NWs (NP-shell@NW), NP-chain decorated NW (NP-chain@NW) and doped NWs. The sol-flame process first coats existing NWs with NPs or dopants precursors prepared by the sol-gel process, and then dissociates/oxidizes these precursors in flame. The sol-flame method uniquely combines the merits of the flame process (e.g., high temperature and fast heating rate) with low temperature sol-gel method (e.g., broad material choices and excellent chemical composition control). For both the NP-shell@NW and NP-chain@NW cases, the high temperature flame, compared to furnace, provides much faster heating rate and shorter duration for annealing, which evaporates and burns the precursor solvent rapidly, causing NPs to quickly nucleate around NWs without significant agglomeration. Hence, higher loading density of NPs with smaller sizes is decorated to the NWs, and the formed hybrid NP@NW exhibits significantly higher catalytic activity than that of the furnace-annealed sample. Similarly when using the sol-flame method to dope NWs, the high temperature flame enables rapid dopant diffusion and short annealing duration that maintains the morphology of the original materials and protects the delicate NW substrates from damage. We believe that the new sol-flame method can be applied to synthesize various 1-D hybrid metal oxide nanostructures, thereby impacting diverse application fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2179-2186
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Doping nanowires
  • Flame synthesis
  • Heterogeneous nanowires
  • Metal oxide nanowires
  • Sol-flame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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