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Open Access Nano Express

The dual role of silver during silicon etching in HF solution

Manel Abouda-Lachiheb, Nesma Nafie and Mongi Bouaicha*

Author Affiliations

Laboratoire de Photovoltaique, Centre de Recherches et des Technologies de l’Energie, Technopole de Borj-Cedria, BP 95, Hammam-Lif, Tunis, 2050, Tunisia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:455  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-455

Published: 13 August 2012


It was reported that during silicon etching, silver was subjected to have a controversial role. Some researchers debate that silver protects silicon, and, at the same time, other ones confirm that silver catalyzes silicon underneath. In this paper, we give experimental results arguing the dual role that silver has during the formation of silicon nanostructures. We give a proof that the role of silver depends on the experimental details and the intrinsic properties of silver during its deposition on the silicon wafer. Through our investigations, we tracked the silver particles that indicated which mechanism is involved. Characterizations of the prepared samples were made using a scanning electron microscope.

Silicon nanowires; Silver; HF; Etching; Catalyzing