The design and development of innovative architectures for memory storage and energy conversion devices are at the forefront of current research efforts driving us towards a sustainable future. However, issues related to the cost, efficiency, and reliability of current technologies are still severely limiting their overtake of the standard designs. The use of ordered nanostructured silicon is expected to overcome these limitations and push the advancement of the alternative technologies. Specifically, self-assembling of block copolymers has been recognized as a promising and cost-effective approach to organize silicon nanostructures. This work reviews some of the most important findings on block copolymer self-assembling and complements those with the results of new experimental studies. First of all, a quantitative analysis is presented on the ordering and fluctuations expected in the synthesis of silicon nanostructures by using standard synthesis methods like chemical vapour deposition. Then the effects of the several parameters guiding the ordering mechanisms in the block copolymer systems, such as film thickness, molecular weight, annealing conditions, solvent, and substrate topography are discussed. Finally, as a proof of concept, an in-house developed example application to solar cells is presented, based on silicon nanostructures resulting from self-assembling of block copolymers.
1 Jan 2015
Journal of Nanomaterials