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Nat Nanotechnol. 2006 Dec;1(3):186-9. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2006.133. Epub 2006 Nov 26.

Epitaxial growth of silicon nanowires using an aluminium catalyst.


Silicon nanowires have been identified as important components for future electronic and sensor nanodevices. So far gold has dominated as the catalyst for growing Si nanowires via the vapour-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism. Unfortunately, gold traps electrons and holes in Si and poses a serious contamination problem for Si complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing. Although there are some reports on the use of non-gold catalysts for Si nanowire growth, either the growth requires high temperatures and/or the catalysts are not compatible with CMOS requirements. From a technological standpoint, a much more attractive catalyst material would be aluminium, as it is a standard metal in Si process lines. Here we report for the first time the epitaxial growth of Al-catalysed Si nanowires and suggest that growth proceeds via a vapour-solid-solid (VSS) rather than a VLS mechanism. It is also found that the tapering of the nanowires can be strongly reduced by lowering the growth temperature.

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