Tin nitride (SnxNy) nanowires have been grown for the first time by chemical vapour deposition on n-type Si(111) and in particular by nitridation of Sn containing NH4Cl at 450 C under a steady flow of NH3. The SnxNy nanowires have an average diameter of 200 nm and lengths C5 lm and were grown on Si(111) coated with a few nm’s of Au. Nitridation of Sn alone, under a flow of NH3 is not effective and leads to the deposition of Sn droplets on the Au/ Si(111) surface which impedes one-dimensional growth over a wide temperature range i.e. 300–800 C. This was overcome by the addition of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) which undergoes sublimation at 338 C thereby releasing NH3 and HCl which act as dispersants thereby enhancing the vapour pressure of Sn and the one-dimensional growth of SnxNy nanowires. In addition to the action of dispersion, Sn reacts with HCl giving SnCl2 which in turn reacts with NH3 leading to the formation of SnxNy NWs. A first estimate of the band-gap of the SnxNy nanowires grown on Si(111) was obtained from optical reflection measurements and found to be &2.6 eV. Finally, intricate assemblies of nanowires were also obtained at lower growth temperatures.