Fabrication of 3D fractal structures using nanoscale anisotropic etching of single crystalline silicon

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    When it comes to high-performance filtration, separation, sunlight collection, surface charge storage or catalysis, the effective surface area is what counts. Highly regular fractal structures seem to be the perfect candidates, but manufacturing can be quite cumbersome. Here it is shown-–for the first time—that complex 3D fractals can be engineered using a recursive operation in conventional micromachining of single crystalline silicon. The procedure uses the built-in capability of the crystal lattice to form self-similar octahedral structures with minimal interference of the constructor. The silicon fractal can be used directly or as a mold to transfer the shape into another material. Moreover, they can be dense, porous, or like a wireframe. We demonstrate, after four levels of processing, that the initial number of octahedral structures is increased by a factor of 625. Meanwhile the size decreases 16 times down to 300 nm. At any level, pores of less than 100 nm can be fabricated at the octahedral vertices of the fractal. The presented technique supports the design of fractals with Hausdorff dimension D free of choice and up to D = 2.322.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)10
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of micromechanics and microengineering
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


    • EWI-24288
    • IR-88761
    • METIS-302631

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