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Nano Lett. 2010 Jul 14;10(7):2649-54. doi: 10.1021/nl1013794.

Tuning the color of silicon nanostructures.

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Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Empowering silicon (Si) with optical functions constitutes a very important challenge in photonics. The scalable fabrication capabilities for this earth-abundant, environmentally friendly material are unmatched in sophistication and can be unleashed to realize a plethora of high-performance photonic functionalities that find application in information, bio-, display, camouflage, ornamental, and energy technologies. Nanofashioning represents a general strategy to turn Si into a useful optical material and Si structures have already been engineered to enable light emission, optical cloaking, waveguiding, nonlinear optics, enhanced light absorption, and sensing. Here, we demonstrate that a wide spectrum of colors can be generated by harnessing the strong resonant light scattering properties of Si nanostructures under white light illumination. The ability to engineer such colors in a predetermined fashion through a choice of the structure size, dielectric environment, and illumination conditions opens up entirely new applications of Si and puts this material in a new light.


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