A method of synthesizing a metal oxide nanowire includes the steps of: combining an amount of a transition metal or a transition metal oxide with an amount of an alkali metal compound to produce a mixture; activating a plasma discharge reactor to create a plasma discharge; exposing the mixture to the plasma discharge for a first predetermined time period such that transition metal oxide nanowires are formed; contacting the transition metal oxide nanowires with an acid solution such that an alkali metal ion is exchanged for a hydrogen ion on each of the transition metal oxide nanowires; and exposing the transition metal oxide nanowires to the plasma discharge for a second predetermined time period to thermally anneal the transition metal oxide nanowires. Transition metal oxide nanowires produced using the synthesis methods described herein are also provided.
This invention was made with government support under Grant Nos. DE-FG02-07ER46375, DE-FG36-05GO85013, and DE-EE0003206 awarded by the Department of Energy, and by Grant No. IIP-10472175 awarded by the National Science Foundation. The government has certain rights in the invention.