We demonstrate a simple method for the visualization of trajectories traced by noble metal nanoparticles during metal-assisted chemical etching (MaCE) of Si. The nanoporous Si layer formed around drilled pores is converted into SiO2 by simple chemical oxidation. Etch removal of the remaining Si using alkali hydroxide leaves SiO2 nanostructures that are the exact replica of those drilled pores or etching trajectories. The differences in etching characteristics between Ag and Au have been investigated using the proposed visualization method. The shape and chemical stability of metal nanoparticles used for MaCE have been found to be critical in determining etching paths. The proposed method would be very helpful in studying the fundamental mechanism of MaCE as well as in micro/nanostructuring of the Si surface for various applications. This approach can also be used for the generation of straight or helical SiO2 nanotubes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces