Process for Fabricating Hollow-Porous Silicon Nano-Quills

Market Overview:

Porous Si-based nanomaterials (including elemental Si and silica nanoparticles) can be used in multiple research applications. Currently, they are used in battery anode structures, controlled release of pesticides, and were revealed to be biocompatible and biodegradable. That makes Si-based nanomaterials a prime material to use in biomedical applications such as drug delivery. The global market for nano-silica is projected to grow to $5.14 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 7.6%. In addition, the global silicon anode battery market is expected to reach $1044.96 million by 2023 with a CAGR of 40.5%. In this extensive market environment, Clemson University researchers have developed a two-step process for the synthesis of hollow-porous silicon nanostructured materials. First, interconnected silica particles, called silica nano-quills (SilicaNQs), are synthesized through a low-cost and scalable method. SilicaNQs feature several hollow arms with a range of diameter, length, wall thickness and porosity. 1D templates are used to fabricate SilicaNQs with various lengths and sizes. Later, silicaNQs are converted into a pure Si structure, called silicon nano-quills (SiNQs).


Application                                                                   Stage of Development

Batteries, Solar Cells, Agriculture,                   Proof of concept

Biotechnology, Oil and Gas,

Water Treatment, Air Purification



  • The preparation of silica nano-quills and Si nano-quills using this technology requires a low-cost and simple setup and is economical and easy to scale up
  • The technology can employ a variety of templates from synthetic 1D particles such as carbon nanotubes and metal oxide nanowires to naturally available 1D particles such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs)
  • Larger companies are actively seeking partners to carry out research to gain the profit potential of the smart nanomaterial market


Technical Summary

A layer of silica is grown on agglomerates/networks of 1D templates in a sol-gel process. These 1D templates can be of both natural and synthetic moieties. The characteristics of the silica can be controlled by adjusting the composition and amount of silica precursor, composition of chemicals/solvents in solution, pH level of solution, and duration of silica growth process. Pores can be created by using porogen material. Silica is converted into silicon through a low-temperature reduction process followed by purification. The resulting Si particles retain the morphology of initial silica and are called Si nano-quills (SiNQs).

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Inventor:                       Srikanth Pilla, Apparao Rao, Morteza Sabet

Patent Type:                  N/A

Serial Number:             N/A

CURF Ref No:              2020-033

Patent Information:
Advanced Materials
For Information, Contact:
Andy Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
Clemson University Research Foundation
Srikanth Pilla
Morteza Sabet
Apparao Rao
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