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Sci Adv. 2017 Nov 10;3(11):eaao1472. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1472. eCollection 2017 Nov.

Complex dewetting scenarios of ultrathin silicon films for large-scale nanoarchitectures.

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Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Université de Toulon, IM2NP UMR 7334, 13397 Marseille, France.
Laboratoire de Micro-Optoélectronique et Nanostructures, Faculté des Sciences de Monastir Université de Monastir, 5019 Monastir, Tunisia.
Institute of Scientific Computing, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany.
Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Laboratory for Nanostructure Epitaxy and Spintronics on Silicon,Via Anzani 42, 22100 Como, Italy.
Dresden Center for Computational Materials Science, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany.


Dewetting is a ubiquitous phenomenon in nature; many different thin films of organic and inorganic substances (such as liquids, polymers, metals, and semiconductors) share this shape instability driven by surface tension and mass transport. Via templated solid-state dewetting, we frame complex nanoarchitectures of monocrystalline silicon on insulator with unprecedented precision and reproducibility over large scales. Phase-field simulations reveal the dominant role of surface diffusion as a driving force for dewetting and provide a predictive tool to further engineer this hybrid top-down/bottom-up self-assembly method. Our results demonstrate that patches of thin monocrystalline films of metals and semiconductors share the same dewetting dynamics. We also prove the potential of our method by fabricating nanotransfer molding of metal oxide xerogels on silicon and glass substrates. This method allows the novel possibility of transferring these Si-based patterns on different materials, which do not usually undergo dewetting, offering great potential also for microfluidic or sensing applications.

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