Unveiling the shape-diversified silicon nanowires made by HF/HNO3 isotropic etching with the assistance of silver

Chia Yun Chen, Ching Ping Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrofluoric (HF)/nitric (HNO3)/acetic (CH3COOH) acid, normally referred to as the HNA method, is a widely utilized technique for performing isotropic etching on silicon (Si) in industrial Si-based processing and device construction. Here, we reported a novel etching strategy based on a HF/HNO3 process with the assistance of silver (Ag) nano-seeds, offering good controllability in preparing diversified Si nanostructure arrays with particularly smooth top surfaces. The involved mechanism was visualized by systematically investigating both the time and temperature dependencies on the etching kinetics with various ratios of HF to HNO3. Moreover, by testing different Ag+-ion containing oxidants on Si etching, we have re-examined the state-of-the-art metal-assisted chemical etching (MaCE) using HF/AgNO3 etchants. In contrast with previous reports, we found that the interplay of hole injections from Ag+ and NO3- ions to the valence band of Si collectively contributes to the unidirectional dissolution of Si. Finally, we explored the engineering of the Ag nano-seeds to regularize the orientation of the etched nanowires formed on non-Si (100) wafers, which further provides a reliable pathway for constructing the desired morphologies of one-dimensional Si nanostructures regardless of wafer orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1223
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)

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