Top-down fabrication of silicon nanowire devices for thermoelectric applications: properties and perspectives*
Dipartimento di Ingegneria della Informazione,
Università di Pisa, Via G.
a e-mail: email@example.com
Received in final form: 17 January 2015
Published online: 11 May 2015
In this paper, the most recent achievements in the field of device fabrication, based on nanostructured silicon, will be reviewed. Top-down techniques for silicon nanowire production based on lithography, oxidation and highly anisotropic etching (wet, plasma and metal assisted) will be discussed, illustrating both advantages and drawbacks. In particular, fabrication processes for a massive production of silicon nanowires, organized and interconnected in devices with macroscopic dimensions, will be shown and discussed. These macroscopic devices offer the possibility of exploiting the nanoscale thermoelectric properties of silicon in practical applications. In particular, the reduced thermal conductivity of silicon nanowires, with respect to bulk silicon, makes possible to obtain high efficiencies in the direct conversion of heat into electrical power, with intriguing applications in the field of green energy harvesting. The main experiments elucidating the electrical and thermal properties of silicon nanowire devices will be shown and discussed, and compared with the recent theoretical works developed on the subject.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2015