Silicon carbide (SiC) nanostructures attract interest due to their applications in optoelectronic devices, sensors, and high-power/high temperature electronics. The synthesis of SiC nanowires by chemical vapor deposition using hexamethyldisilane (HMDS) as a source material on SiO 2/Si substrate has been investigated. Various catalyst materials, including iron (film and nanoparticles), nickel (film and nanoparticles), and cobalt nanoparticles have been used. The growth runs have been carried out at temperatures between 900 and 1100°C under H; as carrier gas. 3C-SiC nanowires have successfully been grown at even lower temperatures despite the lower efficiency of source decomposition at low temperatures. The SiC nanowire diameters are in the range of 8 nm to 60 nm, as determined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In general, the efficiency of nanowire growth has increased with temperature except the growth on Ni film, which has occasionally resulted in SiC flowers. Higher nanowire density at high temperatures can be attributed to more efficient decomposition of the source at higher temperatures. Further, optical properties of the nanowires have been studied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The fabricated nanowires have also been characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and x-ray diffraction (XRD). © 2011 Materials Research Society.