Three-dimensional (3D) mesostructured semiconductors show promising properties and applications; however, to date, few methods exist to synthesize or fabricate such materials. Metal can diffuse along semiconductor surfaces, and even trace amounts can change the surface behavior. We exploited the phenomena for 3D mesoscale lithography, by showing one example where iterated deposition-diffusion-incorporation of gold over silicon nanowires forms etchant-resistant patterns. This process is facet-selective, producing mesostructured silicon spicules with skeletonlike morphology, 3D tectonic motifs, and reduced symmetries. Atom-probe tomography, coupled with other quantitative measurements, indicates the existence and the role of individual gold atoms in forming 3D lithographic resists. Compared to other more uniform silicon structures, the anisotropic spicule requires greater force for detachment from collagen hydrogels, suggesting enhanced interfacial interactions at the mesoscale.
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