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The size, composition, and crystallinity of plasma produced nanoparticles are crucial factors for their physical and chemical properties. Here, we investigate the role of the process gas composition, particularly the hydrogen (H2) flow rate, on germanium (Ge) nanoparticles synthesized from a chlorinated precursor by nonthermal plasma. We demonstrate that the gas composition can significantly change the nanoparticle size and also adjust the surface chemistry by altering the dominant reaction mechanisms. A red shift of the Ge-Clx infrared absorptions with increasing H2 flow indicates a weakening of the Ge-Clx bonds at high H2 content. Furthermore, by changing the gas composition, the nanoparticles microstructure can be controlled from mostly amorphous at high hydrogen flow to diamond cubic crystalline at low hydrogen flow.
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