- Directed deposition of silicon nanowires using neopentasilane as precursor and gold as catalyst (2012)
- 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.
- Electrical transport and pinning properties of Nb thin films patterned with focused ion beam-milled washboard nanostructures (2012)
- A careful analysis of the magneto-transport properties of epitaxial nanostructured Nb thin films in the normal and the mixed state is performed. The nanopatterns were prepared by focused ion beam (FIB) milling. They provide a washboard-like pinning potential landscape for vortices in the mixed state and simultaneously cause a resistivity anisotropy in the normal state. Two matching magnetic fields for the vortex lattice with the underlying nanostructures have been observed. By applying these fields, the most likely pinning sites along which the flux lines move through the samples have been selected. By this, either the background isotropic pinning of the pristine film or the enhanced isotropic pinning originating from the nanoprocessing have been probed. Via an Arrhenius analysis of the resistivity data the pinning activation energies for three vortex lattice parameters have been quantified. The changes in the electrical transport and the pinning properties have been correlated with the results of the microstructural and topographical characterization of the FIB-patterned samples. Accordingly, along with the surface processing, FIB milling has been found to alter the material composition and the degree of disorder in as-grown films. The obtained results provide further insight into the pinning mechanisms at work in FIB-nanopatterned superconductors, e.g. for fluxonic applications.
- Spontaneous dissociation of Co2(CO)8 and autocatalytic growth of Co on SiO2: A combined experimental and theoretical investigation (2012)
- We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal–organic precursor Co2(CO)8 on SiO2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.
- A tunable strain sensor using nanogranular metals (2010)
- This paper introduces a new methodology for the fabrication of strain-sensor elements for MEMS and NEMS applications based on the tunneling effect in nano-granular metals. The strain-sensor elements are prepared by the maskless lithography technique of focused electron-beam-induced deposition (FEBID) employing the precursor trimethylmethylcyclopentadienyl platinum [MeCpPt(Me)3]. We use a cantilever-based deflection technique to determine the sensitivity (gauge factor) of the sensor element. We find that its sensitivity depends on the electrical conductivity and can be continuously tuned, either by the thickness of the deposit or by electron-beam irradiation leading to a distinct maximum in the sensitivity. This maximum finds a theoretical rationale in recent advances in the understanding of electronic charge transport in nano-granular metals.