Multifunctional porous silicon nanopillar arrays: antireflection, superhydrophobicity, photoluminescence, and surface-enhanced Raman scattering

We have fabricated porous silicon nanopillar arrays over large areas with a rapid, simple, and low-cost technique. The porous silicon nanopillars show unique longitudinal features along their entire length and have porosity with dimensions on the single-nanometer scale. Both Raman spectroscopy and photoluminescence data were used to determine the nanocrystallite size to be <3 nm. The porous silicon nanopillar arrays also maintained excellent ensemble properties, reducing reflection nearly fivefold from planar silicon in the visible range without any optimization, and approaching superhydrophobic behavior with increasing aspect ratio, demonstrating contact angles up to 138°. Finally, the porous silicon nanopillar arrays were made into sensitive surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates by depositing metal onto the pillars. The SERS performance of the substrates was demonstrated using a chemical dye Rhodamine 6G. With their multitude of properties (i.e., antireflection, superhydrophobicity, photoluminescence, and sensitive SERS), the porous silicon nanopillar arrays described here can be valuable in applications such as solar harvesting, electrochemical cells, self-cleaning devices, and dynamic biological monitoring.

Kiraly, Brian, Shikuan Yang, Tony Jun Huang






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