Environmentally Friendly Method of Silicon Recycling: Synthesis of Silica Nanoparticles in an Aqueous Solution

Julia V. Bondareva, Timur F. Aslyamov, Alexander G. Kvashnin, Pavel V. Dyakonov, Yulia O. Kuzminova, Yuri A. Mankelevich, Ekaterina N. Voronina, Sarkis A. Dagesyan, Alexander V. Egorov, Roman A. Khmelnitsky, Michael A. Tarkhov, Nikolay V. Suetin, Iskander S. Akhatov, Stanislav A. Evlashin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In future decades, tons of silicon waste will be produced from various sources, with no reliable recycling route. The transformation of bulk silicon into SiO2 nanoparticles is significant because it provides an environmentally friendly way to recycle residual silicon waste. To address the needs of silicon recycling, we have developed a top-down approach that achieves 100% conversion of bulk silicon to silica nanoparticles with outcome sizes of 8-50 nm. In contrast to our approach, previous studies on the preparation of silica nanoparticles were based on the bottom-up method, where alkoxides served as the silicon source. In addition to silicon processing and upcycling the potential of silica, our method also possesses several advantages, such as simplicity, scalability, and controllable particle size distribution. Many fields of science and manufacturing, such as optics, photonics, medical, and mechanical applications, require size-controllable fabrication of silica nanoparticles. We demonstrate that control over temperature and hydrolysis time has a significant impact on the average particle size and distribution shape. Additionally, we unravel the process of nanoparticle formation using a theoretical nucleation model and quantum density functional theory calculations. Our results provide a theoretical and experimental basis for silica nanoparticle fabrication and pave the way for further silicon conservation research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14006-14012
Number of pages7
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020


  • catalyst-free synthesis
  • hydrothermal method
  • silica nanoparticles
  • silicon processing
  • solar cell recycling
  • top-down approach


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