• Si oxides;
  • XPS;
  • ethanol addition;
  • HF concentration;
  • etching

Silicon powder is vulnerable to oxidation due to its high surface activity. The as-prepared Si powder is characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy spectra coupled with an oxygen nitrogen analyzer, revealing that oxygen impurities mainly consist of Si oxides but with a small amount of free oxygen. The stable oxide films can deteriorate the properties of sintered materials since they cannot be removed during sintering process. The cleaning of these oxides by a single-HF solution is not straightforward and efficient due to the large surface tension. To remove the oxygen, a more efficient way with the addition of ethanol to a HF solution has been proposed. The addition of a moderate percent of ethanol can decrease the water contact angle and then improve the cleaning efficiency. Importantly, the resulting Si powder possesses good dispersity, uniformity and fluidity. However, excess hydrofluoric acid suppresses oxide removal. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.