A process for the rapid synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles at low temperatures and methods which facilitate the fabrication of long metal oxide nanowires. The method is based on treatment of metals with oxygen plasma. Using oxygen plasma at low temperatures allows for rapid growth unlike other synthesis methods where nanomaterials take a long time to grow. Density of neutral oxygen atoms in plasma is a controlling factor for the yield of nanowires. The oxygen atom density window differs for different materials. By selecting the optimal oxygen atom density for various materials the yield can be maximized for nanowire synthesis of the metal.
This application is part of a government project. The research leading to this invention was support by Grant Number 987 6251 from the National Science Foundation, Grant Number F49620-00-1-0310 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Grant Number DE-FG-02-05ER64071 from the Department of Energy. The United States Government retains certain rights in this invention.