The unavoidable occurrence of microdefects in silicon wafers increase the probability of catastrophic fracture of silicon-based devices, thus highlighting the need for a strengthening mechanism to minimize fractures resulting from defects. In this study, a novel mechanism for manufacturing silicon wafers was engineered based on nanoscale reinforcement through surface nanotexturing. Because of nanotexturing, different defect depths synthetically emulated as V-notches, demonstrated a bending strength enhancement by factors of 2.5, 3.2, and 6 for 2-, 7-, and 14-μm-deep V-notches, respectively. A very large increase in the number of fragments observed during silicon fracturing was also indicative of the strengthening effect. Nanotextures surrounding the V-notch reduced the stress concentration factor at the notch tip and saturated as the nanotexture depth approached 1.5 times the V-notch depth. The stress reduction at the V-notch tip measured by micro-Raman spectroscopy revealed that nanotextures reduced the effective depth of the defect. Therefore, the nanotextured samples were able to sustain a larger fracture force. The enhancement in Weibull modulus, along with an increase in bending strength in the nanotextured samples compared to polished single-crystal silicon samples, demonstrated the reliability of the strengthening method. These results suggest that this method may be suitable for industrial implementation.
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