The water-soluble silicon quantum dots (QDs) of average diameter ~3 nm were prepared in organic solvent by ultrasound-induced solution route. This speedy rout produces the silicon QDs in the size range from 2 nm to 4 nm at room temperature and ambient pressure. The product yield of QDs was estimated to be higher than 60 % based on the initial NaSi weight. The surfaces of QDs were terminated with organic molecules including biocompatible ending groups (hydroxyl, amine and carboxyl) during simple preparation. Covalent attached molecules were characterized by FT-IR spectroscopy. These water-soluble passivation of QDs has just a little effect on the optical properties of original QDs.
Silicon nanoparticles in the range from 2 nm to 5 nm was prepared from Zintl salt, soldium silicide (NaSi) by sonochemical method. This synthesis permits the reaction completed as fast as in a few hours and the easy alkyl-modification of nanocrystals surface at room temperature and ambient pressure. The average size of nanoparticles measured by the dynamic light scattering analysis was 2.7 nm. The high-resolution transmission electron micrograph cofirmed the material identity of nanoparticles as crystalline silicon. FT-IR spectra are consistent with the surface states of nanocrystals that is chlorine- or butyl-capped. The emission peak center moved to longer wavelength (up to 430 nm) with the reaction time, under a 325 nm excitation. The luminescence of silicon colloids looks bright bluish-white under excitation using a commercial low-intensity UV lamp.