Unlocking the Secrets of Porous Silicon Formation: Insights into Magnesiothermic Reduction Mechanism using In-situ Powder X-ray Diffraction Studies

29 February 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The magnesiothermic reduction of SiO2 is an important reaction as it is a bulk method that produces porous Si for a wide range of applications directly from SiO2. While its main advantage is potential tunability, the reaction behavior and final product properties are heavily dependent on many parameters including feedstock type. However, a complete understanding of the reaction pathway has not yet been achieved. Here, using in-situ X-ray diffraction analysis, we map for the first time, various pathways through which the magnesiothermic reduction reaction proceeds. Further, we identified the key parameters and conditions that determine which pathways are favored. We discovered that the reaction onset temperatures can be as low as 348 ± 7°C, which is significantly lower than previously reported values. The onset temperature is dependent on the size of Mg particles. Further, Mg2Si was identified as a key intermediate rather than a reaction byproduct during the reduction process. Its rate of consumption is determined by the reaction temperature which needs to be >535°C. These findings can enable process and product optimization of the magnesiothermic reduction process to manufacture and tune porous Si for a range of applications.


magnesiothermic reduction
porous silicon
in-situ xrd

Supplementary materials

Supporting information
Figures S1 - S10, description of experimental set-up, and details of thermodynamic calculations.


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