We report a nanowire growth that is highly unconventional: (1) nanowires can grow from substrate-bound seeds but cannot from colloidal seeds under otherwise the same conditions; (2) the nanowires grow from only one side of the seeds, with their diameter independent of the size of the seeds; and (3) vertically aligned ultrathin nanowires are obtained on substrates, using aqueous solution and ambient conditions. With carefully designed experiments, we propose and test a new mechanism that can explain these unusual phenonmena. It turns out that the strong binding of ligands in this system forces selective deposition of Au at the ligand-deficient interface between Au seeds and oxide substrates. This means of promoting anisotropic growth of nanocrystals into nanowires is previously unknown in the literature. We are able to pinpoint the site of active growth and explain the control of nanowire width. The sustained growth at the active site and the inhibited growth at its parameter push the nanocrystals upward into wires; their diameter is dependent on the dynamic competition of the two processes. The site-specific growth from substrate-anchored seeds provides a rare means to create substrate-nanowire hierarchical structures in aqueous solution under ambient conditions. Rendering a surface conductive, particularly one with complex surface morphology, is now made easy.
He, Jiating, Yawen Wang, Yuhua Feng, Xiaoying Qi, Zhiyuan Zeng, Qing Liu, Wei Shan Teo, Chee Lip Gan, Hua Zhang, Hongyu Chen