A DLVO model for catalyst motion in metal-assisted chemical etching based upon controlled out-of-plane rotational etching and force-displacement measurements

Owen J. Hildreth, Konrad Rykaczewski, Andrei G. Fedorov, Ching P. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Metal-assisted Chemical Etching of silicon has recently emerged as a powerful technique to fabricate 1D, 2D, and 3D nanostructures in silicon with high feature fidelity. This work demonstrates that out-of-plane rotational catalysts utilizing polymer pinning structures can be designed with excellent control over rotation angle. A plastic deformation model was developed establishing that the catalyst is driven into the silicon substrate with a minimum pressure differential across the catalyst thickness of 0.4-0.6 MPa. Force-displacement curves were gathered between an Au tip and Si or SiO 2 substrates under acidic conditions to show that Derjaguin and Landau, Verwey and Overbeek (DLVO) based forces are capable of providing restorative forces on the order of 0.2-0.3 nN with a calculated 11-18 MPa pressure differential across the catalyst. This work illustrates that out-of-plane rotational structures can be designed with controllable rotation and also suggests a new model for the driving force for catalyst motion based on DLVO theory. This process enables the facile fabrication of vertically aligned thin-film metallic structures and scalloped nanostructures in silicon for applications in 3D micro/nano-electromechanical systems, photonic devices, nanofluidics, etc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-970
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 7 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this