Porosification-induced back-bond weakening in chemical etching of n-Si(111)

Fan Bai, Wai Keung To, Jeffery Zhifeng Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


It is imperative to control the etching direction in metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) to engineer the surface crystalline orientation of as-generated silicon nanowires (SiNWs). At room temperature, MACE of n-Si(111) carries out along the intrinsic back-bond etching direction of [111] under [HF]/[AgNO3] ≥ 50. When n-Si(111) is heavily doped, MACE generates mesoporous SiNWs (mp-SiNWs) standing on a mesoporous silicon (mpSi) layer. The porosification substantially weakens the back bonds underneath the sinking metal particles, leading to a deviation of etching from [111]. The selection of etching direction is governed by an angle of the selected direction to [111], and small angle is preferential. Due to the thermodynamic preference of the intrinsic back-bond etching, the etching along [111] is retained at ≥30 C. Zigzag mp-SiNWs are first created under high [HF] and solution stirring, attributed to the HF-induced heating and stirring-stimulated H2 evaporation. This work would potentially pave a way to employ mp-SiNWs with controllable surface orientations in catalysis, electronics, optoelectronics, sensors, and surface functionalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2203-2209
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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