Bright-field transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images, high-resolution TEM (HRTEM) images, and fast-Fourier transformed electron-diffraction patterns showed that n-butyl terminated Si nanoparticles were aggregated. The formation of Si-1 C-x(x) nanocomposites was mixed with Si nanoparticles and C atoms embedded in a SiO2 layer due to the diffusion of C atoms from n-butyl termination shells into aggregated Si nanoparticles. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) images showed that the Si-1 C-x(x) nanocomposites mixed with Si nanoparticles and C atoms existed in almost all regions of the SiO2 layer. The formation mechanism of Si nanoparticles and the transformation mechanism of n-butyl terminated Si nanoparticles embedded into Si-1 C-x(x) nanocomposites mixed with Si nanoparticles and C atoms are described on the basis of the TEM, HRTEM, and AFM results. These results can help to improve the understanding of the formation mechanism of Si nanoparticles. (c) 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V.