Reaction control of metal-assisted chemical etching for silicon-based zone plate nanostructures
Metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) reaction parameters were investigated for the fabrication of specially designed silicon-based X-ray zone plate nanostructures using a gold catalyst pattern and etching solutions composed of HF and H2O2. Etching depth, zone verticality and zone roughness were studied as a function of etching solution composition, temperature and processing time. Homogeneous, vertical etching with increasing depth is observed at increasing H2O2 concentrations and elevated processing temperatures, implying a balance in the hole injection and silica dissolution kinetics at the gold–silicon interface. The etching depth decreases and zone roughness increases at the highest investigated H2O2 concentration and temperature. Possible reasons for these observations are discussed based on reaction chemistry and zone plate design. Optimum MACE conditions are found at HF : H2O2 concentrations of 4.7 M : 0.68 M and room temperature with an etching rate of ≈0.7 μm min−1, which is about an order of magnitude higher than previous reports. Moreover, our results show that a grid catalyst design is important for successful fabrication of vertical high aspect ratio silicon nanostructures.