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XVII University Awards “Archimedes” of Introduction to Scientific Research

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XVII University Awards “Archimedes” of Introduction to Scientific Research

First Prize in the Area of Experimental, Exact and Environmental Sciences

“Spontaneous Formation of Core-Shell Nanoparticles of Au-SiO2 at the tip of Silicon Nanowires Revealed by Scanning Electron Microscopy at Very Low Voltages”

By Laura Zarraoa Sardón (Autonomous University of Madrid) and supervised by Álvaro San Paulo Hernando , Tenured Scientist at the Institute of Micro and Nanotechnology.


The extraordinary imaging power potential of scanning electron microscopy when the electron beam hits the sample with very low energy (<1 keV) has been known for decades. However, only the latest generation instruments reach ultra high resolution (<1 nm) under these conditions. In this work, the structure of the tip os Si nanowires grown via the vapor-liquid-solid mechanism is investigated by applying this technique. We have discovered the spontaneous formation of gold-silica core-shell structures at the tip of the nanowires, demonstrating the exceptional potential of this technique for the study of low dimensional nanostructures.