Small-Diameter Silicon Nanowire Surfaces

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Science  21 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5614, pp. 1874-1877
DOI: 10.1126/science.1080313

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Small-diameter (1 to 7 nanometers) silicon nanowires (SiNWs) were prepared, and their surfaces were removed of oxide and terminated with hydrogen by a hydrofluoric acid dip. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) of these SiNWs, performed both in air and in ultrahigh vacuum, revealed atomically resolved images that can be interpreted as hydrogen-terminated Si (111)-(1 × 1) and Si (001)-(1 × 1) surfaces corresponding to SiH3 on Si (111) and SiH2 on Si (001), respectively. These hydrogen-terminated SiNW surfaces seem to be more oxidation-resistant than regular silicon wafer surfaces, because atomically resolved STM images of SiNWs were obtained in air after several days' exposure to the ambient environment. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy measurements were performed on the oxide-removed SiNWs and were used to evaluate the electronic energy gaps. The energy gaps were found to increase with decreasing SiNW diameter from 1.1 electron volts for 7 nanometers to 3.5 electron volts for 1.3 nanometers, in agreement with previous theoretical predictions.

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