Optical properties of silicon nanowires fabricated by environment-friendly chemistry

in: Nanoscale Research Letters (2016)
Gonchar, Kyrill A.; Osminkina, Liubov Andreevna; Schleusener, Alexander; Sivakov, Vladimir; Zubairova, Alsu A.
Silicon nanowires (SiNWs) were fabricated by metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) where hydrofluoric acid (HF), which is typically used in this method, was changed into ammonium fluoride (NH4F). The structure and optical properties of the obtained SiNWs were investigated in details. The length of the SiNW arrays is about 2 μm for 5 min of etching, and the mean diameter of the SiNWs is between 50 and 200 nm. The formed SiNWs demonstrate a strong decrease of the total reflectance near 5–15 % in the spectral region λ < 1 μm in comparison to crystalline silicon (c-Si) substrate. The interband photoluminescence (PL) and Raman scattering intensities increase strongly for SiNWs in comparison with the corresponding values of the c-Si substrate. These effects can be interpreted as an increase of the excitation intensity of SiNWs due to the strong light scattering and the partial light localization in an inhomogeneous optical medium. Along with the interband PL was also detected the PL of SiNWs in the spectral region of 500–1100 nm with a maximum at 750 nm, which can be explained by the radiative recombination of excitons in small Si nanocrystals at nanowire sidewalls in terms of a quantum confinement model. So SiNWs, which are fabricated by environment-friendly chemistry, have a great potential for use in photovoltaic and photonics applications.

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