Characterization Challenges with Porous Silicon

  • Leigh Canham
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history


Mesoporous silicon is a complex nanostructure whose optoelectronic properties and morphology have received intense study over the last 25 years. Its properties often depend on both its skeleton size distribution and the chemical nature of its high internal surface area. This expanded review provides a glossary of about 100 characterization techniques applied to date to porous silicon; highlighting those techniques receiving dedicated reviews in this section of the handbook; and linking all of them to other parts of the handbook dealing with specific structures, properties and applications. It then also collates some of the lessons learned with regard characterization, highlighting potential issues that need to be considered and artifacts that can arise. These have in the past both complicated data interpretation and even caused problems in reproducing published data.


Mesoporous Silicon Characterization techniques With Porous Silicon Silicon Nanocrystallite Size Distribution Metastable Silicon Hydride Surface 


  1. Axelrod E, Givant A, Shappir J, Feldman Y, Saar A (2002) Dielectric relaxation and transport in porous silicon. Phys Rev B 65:165–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beckmann KH (1965) Investigation of the chemical properties of stain films on silicon by means of infrared spectroscopy. Surf Sci 3(4):314–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ben-Chorin M, Moller F, Koch F, Schirmacher W, Eberhard M (1995) Hopping transport on a fractal: ac conductivity of porous silicon. Phys Rev B 51(4):2199–2213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bisi O, Ossicini S, Pavesi L (2000) Porous silicon: a quantum sponge structure for silicon based optoelectronics. Surf Sci Rep 38(1–3):1–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boarino L, Borini S, Amato G (2009) Electrical properties of mesoporous silicon: from a surface effect to coulomb blockade and more. J Electrochem Soc 156(12):K223–K226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Canham LT (1990) Silicon quantum wire array fabrication by electrochemical and chemical dissolution of waters. Appl Phys Lett 57(10):1046–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Canham LT (1997) Properties of porous silicon, EMIS datareview series no 18. IEE Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Canham LT, Houlton MR, Leong WY, Keen JM (1991) Atmospheric impregnation of porous silicon. J Appl Phys 70(1):422–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Canham LT, Cullis AG, Pickering C, Dosser OD, Cox TI, Lynch TP (1994) Luminescent anodized silicon aerocrystal networks prepared by supercritical drying. Nature 368:133–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cao L, Price TP, Weiss M, Gao D (2008) Super water- and oil-repellent surfaces on intrinsically hydrophilic and oleophillic porous silicon films. Langmuir 24(5):1640–1643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chao Y (2011) Optical properties of nanostructured silicon. Compr NanoSci Technol 1:543–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chuang SF, Collins SD, Smith RL (1989) Porous silicon microstructure as studied by transmission electron microscopy. Appl Phys Lett 55:1540–1543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa J, Roura P, Morante JR, Bertran E (1998) Blackbody emission under laser excitation of silicon nanopowder produced by plasma-enhanced chemical-vapour deposition. J Appl Phys 83(12):7879–7885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cozzi C, Polito G, Strambini LM, Barillaro G (2016) Electrochemical preparation of in-silicon hierarchical networks of regular out-of-plane macropores interconnected by secondary in-plane pores through controlled inhibition of breakdown effects. Electrochim Acta 187:552–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cullis AG, Canham LT, Calcott PDJ (1997) The structural and luminescence properties of porous silicon. J Appl Phys 82(3):909–965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Derlet PM, Choy TC, Stoneham AM (1995) An investigation of the porous silicon optical absorption power law near the band edge. J Phys Condens Matter 7:2507–2523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fauchet PM, Tsybeskov L, Peng C, Duttagupta SP, von Behren J, Kostoulas Y, Vandyshev JMV, Hirschman KD (1995) Light-emitting porous silicon: materials science, properties and device applications. IEEE J Sel Topics Quant Electron 1(4):1126–1139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gentile F, Battista E et al (2011) Fractal structure can explain the increased hydrophobicity of nanoporous silicon films. Microelectron Eng 88:2537–2540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giaddui T, Earwaker LG, Forcey KS, Loni A, Canham LT (1998) Improved capping layers for suppression of ambient ageing in porous silicon. J Phys D Appl Phys 31:1131–1136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Golovan LA, Timoshenko VY (2013) Nonlinear optical properties of porous silicon nanostructures. J Nanoelectron Optoelectron 8:223–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hamilton B (1995) Porous silicon. Semicond Sci Technol 10:1187–1207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Happo N, Fujiwara M, Iwamatsu M, Horii K (1998) Atomic force microscopy study of self-affine fractal roughness of porous silicon surfaces. Jpn J Appl Phys 37:3951–3953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harsanyi J, Habermeier HU (1987) Fractal micropatterns generated by anodic etching. Microelectron Eng 6(1–4):575–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kim JH, Kim KP, Lyu HK, Woo SH, Seo HS, Lee JH (2009) Three dimensional macropore arrays in p-type silicon fabricated by electrochemical etching. J Korean Phys Soc 55(1):5–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu X, Miao R, Yang J, Bie Y, Wang J, Nuli Y (2016) Scalable and cost-effective preparation of hierarchical porous silicon with a high conversion yield for superior lithium ion storage. Energy Techn 4(5):593–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Loni A, Canham LT (2013) Exothermic phenomena and hazardous gas release during thermal oxidation of mesoporous silicon powders. J Appl Phys 113:173505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lysenko V, Vitiello J, Remaki B, Barbier D (2004) Gas permeability of porous silicon nanostructures. Phys Rev E 70:017301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moretti L, De Stefano L, Rendina I (2007) Quantitative analysis of capillary condensation in fractal-like porous silicon nanostructures. J Appl Phys 101:024309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nychyporuk T, Lysenko V, Barbier D (2005) Fractal nature of porous silicon nanocrystallites. APS J Phys Rev B 71:115–402Google Scholar
  30. Ouyang H, Christopherson M, Fauchet PM (2005) Enhanced control of porous silicon morphology from macropore to mesopore formation. Phys Status Solidi A 202(8):1396–1401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pacholski C (2013) Photonic crystal sensors based on porous silicon. Sensors 13:4694–4713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roura P, Costa J (2002) Radiative thermal emission from silicon nanoparticles: a reversed story from quantum to classical theory. Eur J Phys 23:191–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Scherer WG, Smith DM, Stein D (1995) Deformation of silica aerogels during characterisation. J Non-Cryst Solids 186:309–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smith RL, Collins SD (1992) Porous silicon formation mechanisms. J Appl Phys 71:R1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tondare VN, Gierhart BC, Howitt DG, Smith RL, Chen SJ, Collins SD (2008) An electron microscopy investigation of the structure of porous silicon by oxide replication. Nanotechnology 19:225–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Torres-Costa V, Martin-Palma RJ (2010) Application of nanostructured porous silicon in the field of optics. A review. J Mater Sci 45:2823–2838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Valalaki K, Nassiopoulou AG (2014) Thermal conductivity of highly porous silicon in the temperature range 4.2 to 20K. Nano Res Lett 9, 318Google Scholar
  38. Xiu Y, Zhu L, Hess DW, Wong CP (2007) Hierarchical silicon etched structures for controlled hydrophobicity/superhydrophobicity. Nano Lett 7(11):3388–3393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Xu HJ, Li XJ (2008) Silicon nanoporous pillar array: a hierarchical silicon structure with high light absorption and triple band photoluminescence. Opt Express 16(5):2933–2941CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations