Little research has been done to explore liquid phase deposition (LPD) of silica on non-planar substrates. This thesis proves that the seeded growth of silica colloids from fullerene and surfactant micelles is possible via LPD, as is the coating of individual single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and carbon fibers. Working on the premise that a molecular growth mechanism (versus colloidal/gel deposition) is valid for LPD, nanostructured substrates and specific chemical functional groups should act as "seeds," or templates, for silica growth. Seeded growth is confirmed by reactions of the growth solution with a range of surfactants and with materials with distinctive surface moieties. LPD promises lower production costs and environmental impact as compared to present methods of coating technology, because it is an inherently simple process, using low temperatures and inexpensive air-stable reactants.
Silica is ubiquitous in materials science. Its applications range from thixotropic additives for paint to gate dielectrics in the semiconductor industry. Nano-structured coatings and thin films are integral in today's electronics industry and will become more vital as the size of electronics shrinks. With the incorporation of nanoparticles in future devices, the ability to deposit quality coatings with finely tuned properties becomes paramount. The methods developed herein have applications in fabricating insulators for use in the future molecular scale electronics industry. Additionally, these silica nanoparticles have applications as templates for use in photonics and fuel cell membrane production and lend strength and durability to composites