APPLIED PHYSICS A-MATERIALS SCIENCE & PROCESSING, vol.108, no.4, pp.801-807, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
Silicon nanopillars are grown by an electrochemical anodization of p-type silicon wafers at low current densities in a hydrofluoric acid solution. CW, white light, and various UV pulsed lasers are employed as illumination sources in sample preparation to study wavelength and coherence effects on the growth mechanism of the nanopillars. Coherence is observed to be the foundation of regularity in obtaining conical shapes. The pillar size is found to be almost linearly proportional to the employed illumination wavelength during their growth. BODIPY dye molecules are chemically attached to these silicon nanopillars and the radiative decay rates are investigated by means of a time-resolved fluorescence experiment. The decay rate of the dye molecules embedded in the vicinity of various size pillar tips is significantly affected due to different apex angles of the conical nature. It is demonstrated that the pillar size and the separation between pillars can be adjusted if one uses a coherent light source with an appropriate wavelength during the course of fabrication process. Since change in the decay rate is due to tips of the pillars only, separation of a few micrometers between pillar tips allows one to directly monitor a dye, which is embedded to the tip of a single nanopillar, via a confocal microscopic method for the spontaneous lifetime measurements, without having needed to any extra efforts for an in situ imaging process. It is observed that as the pillar size gets smaller, the inhibition in the spontaneous lifetime of BODIPY is more pronounced. In addition, a more regular pillar structure yields nonvarying decay rates of the dye molecules throughout the silicon sample.