Tin-Catalyzed Plasma-Assisted Growth of Silicon Nanowires

Somilkumar J. Rathi, Bhavin N. Jariwala, Joseph D. Beach, Paul Stradins, P. Craig Taylor, Xiaojun Weng, Yue Ke, Joan M. Redwing, Sumit Agarwal, Reuben T. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus Citations


A systematic study of tin-catalyzed vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth of silicon nanowires by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition at temperatures ranging from 300 to 400 °C is presented. Wire structure, morphology, and growth rate are characterized as a function of process variables. The nanowires are observed to have a crystalline core with a polycrystalline shell due to simultaneous VLS axial growth and vapor-solid radial growth. Axial and radial growth rates are controllable through hydrogen dilution of the plasma which affects the concentration of silane radicals in the plasma. In addition, wire length is observed to saturate with increasing growth time. Post growth chemical analysis suggests this is due to etching and disappearance of tin seeds in the hydrogen plasma which occur in parallel with wire growth. This opens up the possibility of a unique in situ approach to fabricating metal-free nanowire arrays for device applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3833-3839
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2011

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5200-51612


  • photovoltaic applications
  • silicon nanowires


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