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Replacing Metals with Oxides in Metal-Assisted Chemical Etching Enables Direct Fabrication of Silicon Nanowires by Solution Processing

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journal contribution
posted on 18.02.2021, 23:03 by Maxime Gayrard, Justine Voronkoff, Cédric Boissière, David Montero, Laurence Rozes, Andrea Cattoni, Jennifer Peron, Marco Faustini
Metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) has emerged as an effective method to fabricate high aspect ratio nanostructures. This method requires a catalytic mask that is generally composed of a metal. Here, we challenge the general view that the catalyst needs to be a metal by introducing oxide-assisted chemical etching (OACE). We perform etching with metal oxides such as RuO2 and IrO2 by transposing materials used in electrocatalysis to nanofabrication. These oxides can be solution-processed as polymers exhibiting similar capabilities of metals for MACE. Nanopatterned oxides can be obtained by direct nanoimprint lithography or block-copolymer lithography from chemical solution on a large scale. High aspect ratio silicon nanostructures were obtained at the sub-20 nm scale exclusively by cost-effective solution processing by halving the number of fabrication steps compared to MACE. In general, OACE is expected to stimulate new fundamental research on chemical etching assisted by other materials, providing new possibilities for device fabrication.

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