Alloy-assisted deposition of three-dimensional arrays of atomic gold catalyst for crystal growth studies

Yin Fang, Yuanwen Jiang, Mathew J. Cherukara, Fengyuan Shi, Kelliann Koehler, George Freyermuth, Dieter Isheim, Badri Narayanan, Alan W. Nicholls, David N. Seidman, Subramanian K.R.S. Sankaranarayanan*, Bozhi Tian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Large-scale assembly of individual atoms over smooth surfaces is difficult to achieve. A configuration of an atom reservoir, in which individual atoms can be readily extracted, may successfully address this challenge. In this work, we demonstrate that a liquid gold-silicon alloy established in classical vapor-liquid-solid growth can deposit ordered and threedimensional rings of isolated gold atoms over silicon nanowire sidewalls. We perform ab initio molecular dynamics simulation and unveil a surprising single atomic gold-catalyzed chemical etching of silicon. Experimental verification of this catalytic process in silicon nanowires yields dopant-dependent, massive and ordered 3D grooves with spacing down to ~5 nm. Finally, we use these grooves as self-labeled and ex situ markers to resolve several complex silicon growths, including the formation of nodes, kinks, scale-like interfaces, and curved backbones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2014
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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