Rapid Solid-State Metathesis Routes to Nanostructured Silicon-Germanium

Tech ID: 21581 / UC Case 2010-656-0


In collaboration with UCLA Scientists from the Department of Chemistry and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech, scientists have developed a rapid solid state metathesis route to produce nanostructured silicon and silicon-germanium composites that have applications in energy storage and energy conversion.


Silicon has long been revered for its unique semiconductor properties, and is used heavily in advanced electronic device fabrication of all types. Nanostructured silicon is now being used for next generation devices that take advantage of the material's unique properties in new and exciting ways; however current manufacturing methods for producing nanostructured silicon have their limitations. These current methods, which include pyrolsis of silane, pulsed laser ablation, MOCVD, MBE, plasma etching, and electrochemistry, can involve complex equipment and toxic precursors and as such can be expensive and difficult to scale up.


Researchers at UCLA and JPL have identified a method for producing unfunctionalized nanostructured silicon and silicon-germanium through a solid state metathesis reaction that is very efficient and inexpensive. The method does not require any expensive equipment and instead relies on favorable thermodynamics to drive the formation of the nanostructured materials. Overcoming the previous limitations of the manufacturing methods could lead to cost-effective utilization of these materials device applications focusing on energy storage and energy conversion.


  • Thermoelectrics
  • Solar Cells
  • Batteries
  • Biological Imaging


  • Rapid production of unfunctionalized nanostructured silicon
  • Does not result in the production of carbon-based capping ligands
  • Production is readily scaled up

State Of Development

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,808,658 08/19/2014 2010-656


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  • Kaner, Richard B.

Other Information


Materials: Fabrication and Nanotech

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