In fact, n-doped Si was found to be etched faster than p-doped Si [17, 23], and the etching rate decreases with increasing dopant concentration for both n- and p-doped Si [11, 17, 24]. Meanwhile, Li et al. reported that the etching rate showed only small variation for a Au-coated p+, p−, and n+ Si substrate and a Pt-coated Si was etched faster compared with a Au-coated Si . Obviously, abovementioned experiment results cannot be accounted for only
by the charge transfer through an ideal Schottky barrier. A rigorous model should consider the full process of charge transfer including the generation of holes, diffusion in the metal, going through the Schottky barrier, as well as diffusion in the Si substrate, which involved the catalytic activity of the noble metal for oxidant (affecting the generation rate of holes), the surface state of Si, the diffusion of holes from the etching selleck inhibitor front to off-metal areas or to the sidewall of the formed structure (especially in a heavily doped Si, resulting in the formation of a porous structure), etc. [14, 17]. However, this has not been done so far, and it needs to be further Sepantronium explored. Metal-assisted
chemical etching of Si allows fabricating large-area SiNWs with predetermined doping type and doping level. By utilizing the AAO template, the diameter, spacing, and areal density of nanowires can be further controlled through optimizing the anodizing conditions. Moreover, the SiNWs fabricated by this method are well-discrete and vertically aligned, which is critical for subsequent coating of other layers in device fabrication. Therefore, this technique is very promising for device fabrication based on SiNW array, for instance, SiNW radial p-n junction solar cells . Conclusions In conclusion, combining the AAO template and the metal-assisted chemical etching process results in large-area, vertically aligned SiNWs with a uniform diameter along the height direction. The thickness of the Au film
was found to affect the etching rate of Si, which might much be caused primarily by the charge transfer process. A thick Au mesh that comes in contact with Si reduces the Au/Si Schottky barrier height, which facilitates the injection of electronic holes from the Au mesh into the Si, thereby resulting in a high etching rate of Si. This method provides a simple and low-cost approach to the control of the doping type, doping level, diameter, spacing, areal density of SiNW arrays, etc. Well-discrete and vertically aligned SiNW array fabricated by this method is very promising for device applications based on SiNW arrays. Acknowledgements This work is partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant nos. 61106011 and XMU-MP-1 manufacturer 51172109 and the Anhui Province Natural Science Foundation under grant no. 1308085QF109. References 1. Goldberger J, Hochbaum AI, Fan R, Yang PD: Silicon vertically integrated nanowire field transistors. Nano Lett 2006, 6:973–977.