Directed deposition of silicon nanowires using neopentasilane as precursor and gold as catalyst

Britta Kämpken, Verena Wulf, Norbert Auner, Marcel Winhold, Michael Huth, Daniel Rhinow, Andreas Terfort*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work the applicability of neopentasilane (Si(SiH3)4) as a precursor for the formation of silicon nanowires by using gold nanoparticles as a catalyst has been explored. The growth proceeds via the formation of liquid gold/silicon alloy droplets, which excrete the silicon nanowires upon continued decomposition of the precursor. This mechanism determines the diameter of the Si nanowires. Different sources for the gold nanoparticles have been tested: the spontaneous dewetting of gold films, thermally annealed gold films, deposition of preformed gold nanoparticles, and the use of "liquid bright gold", a material historically used for the gilding of porcelain and glass. The latter does not only form gold nanoparticles when deposited as a thin film and thermally annealed, but can also be patterned by using UV irradiation, providing access to laterally structured layers of silicon nanowires.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-545
Number of pages12
JournalBeilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical vapor deposition
  • Gold
  • Nanoparticle
  • Patterning
  • Radiation-induced nanostructures Vapor-liquid-solid mechanism


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