Formation mechanism of nanocatalysts for the growth of silicon nanowires on a hydrogen-terminated Si {111} surface template

Takeda, S.; Ueda, K.; Ozaki, N.; Ohno, Y.
February 2003
Applied Physics Letters;2/10/2003, Vol. 82 Issue 6, p979
Academic Journal
We have observed the formation process of nanocatalysts that act for the growth of Si nanowires by means of UHV scanning tunneling microscopy. Gold-silicon nanocatalysts that we have examined were thought to form on a hydrogen (H)-terminated [111] silicon surface and to expel Si nanowires of extremely high aspect ratio via the vapor-liquid-solid mechanism. We have observed that a nanocatalyst, that is, a droplet of melted gold-silicon alloy of about 5 nm in diameter, is actually formed in a pit on a H-terminated surface in the narrow temperature range around 500°C. We have concluded that, in this specific temperature range, nanocatalysts can be melted, remain mutually isolated, absorb silicon effectively, and expel Si nanowires. Based on the result, we have proposed a method of making a thin template, which facilitates to decide the nucleation sites and the sizes of nanocatalysts, resulting in the precise control of those of Si nanowires.


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