Single crystalline silicon nanowires (SiNWs) were grown on Si(100) substrate using a gold (Au)-catalyzed vapor–liquid–solid (VLS) approach. The dependence of the growth time (i.e., the time of exposure to the Si source) on the density and surface evolution of the grown SiNWs
is considered. It was observed that the density of grown SiNWs on Si substrate increased with increasing growth time. The highest density (∼1.1 × 106 mm−2) was reached at 4 hr. Upon further exposure to the Si source, we observed that the density was maintained
for up to 9 hr. We suggest that the increased Si chemical potential in Au–Si droplets with increased growth time enhanced the SiNW growth rate at the interfaces between Au–Si droplets and SiNWs, and enhanced the transition of the NWs from the existing Au–Si droplets onto
Si substrate. This allows the SiNW density to increase with increased growth time of up to 4 hr. Moreover, we examined the influence of the growth time on surface evolution including Au diffusion, facet and taper formation, and vapor–solid (VS) growth of the SiNWs. To explain the behavior
of the grown SiNWs in the VLS process, we propose a combined model using the VLS and VS growth mechanisms.
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