Localized Synthesis, Assembly and Integration of Silicon Nanowires

Localized synthesis, assembly and integration of one-dimensional silicon nanowires with MEMS structures is demonstrated and characterized in terms of local synthesis processes, electric-field assisted self-assembly, and a proof-of-concept nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) demonstration. Emphasis is placed on the ease of integration, process control strategies, characterization techniques and the pursuit of integrated devices.
A top-down followed by a bottom-up integration approach is utilized. Simple MEMS heater structures are utilized as the microscale platforms for the localized, bottom-up synthesis of one-dimensional nanostructures. Localized heating confines the high temperature region permitting only localized nanostructure synthesis and allowing the surroundings to remain at room temperature thus enabling CMOS compatible post-processing. The vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) process in the presence of a catalytic nanoparticle, a vapor phase reactant, and a specific temperature environment is successfully employed locally. Experimentally, a 5nm thick gold-palladium layer is used as the catalyst while silane is the vapor phase reactant. The current-voltage behavior of the MEMS structures can be correlated to the approximate temperature range required for the VLS reaction to take place. Silicon nanowires averaging 45nm in diameter and up to 29μm in length synthesized at growth rates of up to 1.5μm/min result.
By placing two MEMS structures in close proximity, 4-10μm apart, localized silicon nanowire growth can be used to link together MEMS structures to yield a two-terminal, self-assembled micro-to-nano system. Here, one MEMS structure is designated as the hot growth structure while a nearby structure is designated as the cold secondary structure, whose role is to provide a natural stopping point for the VLS reaction. The application of a localized electric-field, 5 to 13V/μm in strength, during the synthesis process, has been shown to improve nanowire organization, alignment, and assembly.
The integrated nanoelectromechanical system was found to be mechanically resilient as it proved to successfully withstand a wide variety of post-processing steps, including manipulations and examinations under scanning and transmission electron microscopes and aqueous processing, although a super critical drying step is necessary to preserve the integrated system during the drying process. Electrical characterization of the system proved challenging due to low carrier concentration and possible transport issues at the nano-micro interface. Nonetheless, in a proof-of-concept demonstration, the system was functionalized and tested for a hydrogen sensing application.
Publication date: 
December 31, 2005
Publication type: 
Ph.D. Dissertation
Englander, O. (2005). Localized Synthesis, Assembly and Integration of Silicon Nanowires. (n.p.): University of California, Berkeley.

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