Faceted sidewalls of silicon nanowires: Au-induced structural reconstructions and electronic properties
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Physical review : B : condensed matter and materials physics. - Lancaster, Pa, 1998 - 2015
, p. 115403,1-115403,10
University of Antwerp
Si nanowires with a ⟨111⟩ orientation, synthesized by vapor-liquid-solid process with low silane partial pressure reactant and gold as the catalyst, are known to exhibit sawtooth facets containing gold adsorbates. We report herein the study of the nanowire morphology by means of transmission electron microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy. The nanowires consist of faceted sidewalls. The number of the sidewalls changes from 12 to 6 along the growth axis, giving rise to nanowires with an irregular hexagonal cross section at their base. The sidewalls are covered with Au-rich clusters. Their facets also exhibit atomic structures that reveal the presence of gold, resulting from the diffusion of gold during the growth. Based on these observations, the tapering of the nanowire is found to be related to two contributions: the reduction in the catalyst particle size during the growth and lateral overgrowth from the direct incorporation of Si species onto the nanowire sidewalls. Because the rearrangement of atoms at surfaces and interfaces might affect the growth kinetics, the trigonal symmetry as well as the higher lateral growth rate on the widest sidewalls are explained from the existence of an interfacial atomic structure with two inequivalent parts in the unit cell. Finally, spectroscopic measurements were performed on the major facets and revealed a metallic behavior at 77 K.