Self-assembled ErSi2−x nanowires were grown on
Si(001) substrates with an average nanowire width of 2.8 nm.
Submonolayer coverage of platinum was deposited on the
Si(001) surface post ErSi2−x growth. Scanning tunneling microscopy
and reactive ion etching showed that platinum preferentially
deposited on the nanowire surface versus the Si surface.
Reactive ion etching of ErSi2−x nanowires with and without
platinum on the surface demonstrated that platinum acted as
a more resistant etch mask than ErSi2−x. Pt/ErSi2−x nanowires
are air stable whereas ErSi2−x nanowires decompose after exposure
to ambient for five weeks.