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Controlling Kink Geometry in Nanowires Fabricated by Alternating Metal-Assisted Chemical Etching

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journal contribution
posted on 19.01.2017 by Yun Chen, Liyi Li, Cheng Zhang, Chia-Chi Tuan, Xin Chen, Jian Gao, Ching-Ping Wong
Kinked silicon (Si) nanowires (NWs) have many special properties that make them attractive for a number of applications, such as microfluidics devices, microelectronic devices, and biosensors. However, fabricating NWs with controlled three-dimensional (3D) geometry has been challenging. In this work, a novel method called alternating metal-assisted chemical etching is reported for the fabrication of kinked Si NWs with controlled 3D geometry. By the use of multiple etchants with carefully selected composition, one can control the number of kinks, their locations, and their angles by controlling the number of etchant alternations and the time in each etchant. The resulting number of kinks equals the number times the etchant is alternated, the length of each segment separated by kinks has a linear relationship with the etching time, and the kinking angle is related to the surface tension and viscosity of the etchants. This facile method may provide a feasible and economical way to fabricate novel silicon nanowires, nanostructures, and devices for broad applications.