Tuning the color of silicon nanostructures

Nano Lett. 2010 Jul 14;10(7):2649-54. doi: 10.1021/nl1013794.


Empowering silicon (Si) with optical functions constitutes a very important challenge in photonics. The scalable fabrication capabilities for this earth-abundant, environmentally friendly material are unmatched in sophistication and can be unleashed to realize a plethora of high-performance photonic functionalities that find application in information, bio-, display, camouflage, ornamental, and energy technologies. Nanofashioning represents a general strategy to turn Si into a useful optical material and Si structures have already been engineered to enable light emission, optical cloaking, waveguiding, nonlinear optics, enhanced light absorption, and sensing. Here, we demonstrate that a wide spectrum of colors can be generated by harnessing the strong resonant light scattering properties of Si nanostructures under white light illumination. The ability to engineer such colors in a predetermined fashion through a choice of the structure size, dielectric environment, and illumination conditions opens up entirely new applications of Si and puts this material in a new light.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.