Silicon Nanomaterials Resources

Sailor Group at UC San Diego

Technical resources for researchers interested in silicon nanomaterials, with a focus on SSSiN and RIMSE programs: Instructional videos on preparation, processing, and safety concerns associated with silicon nanomaterials; equipment training; information on companies and basic research programs with focused interest on porous silicon or related forms of nanophase silicon; links to leading publications and further reading.

"Etching 101" video: how to make porous silicon

Standard etch cellStandard etch cell YouTube video "etching 101"

Instructional YouTube video "etching 101" made by Gha Young Lee (SSSiN 2015), on the preparation of porous silicon by electrochemial anodization of  crystalline silicon wafers in aqueous HF:ethanol electrolytes. Includes tips on cell design, mounting a wafer, leak-checking the cell, safety procedures, and personal protective equipment. The procedure is focused on the preparations given in "Porous Silicon in Practice: Preparation, Characterization, and Applications." (Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 2012).

"Schlenk Line Operation" video: how to set up an airless Schlenk line

Standard etch cellYouTubeLogo YouTube video "Schlenk Line Operation"

Instructional YouTube video "Schlenk Line Operation" made by Roghiye Kazimi and James Fulmer (SSSiN 2019), on the setting up an taking down of a Schlenk line. A Schlenk line is a type of vacuum apparatus that allows the manipulation of air-sensitive compounds. Our group uses it to perform silicon surface modification chemistries such as the ring-opening of cyclic silanes and hydrosilylation, both of which need to be performed in the abscence of air and humidity.

Silicone microlenses: Convert your cell phone into a microscope

Silicone microlens

Module developed by Seth Mclaughlin, based on our publication "Moldless Printing of Silicone Lenses with Embedded Nanostructured Optical Filters" (Mariani, S.; Robbiano, V.; Iglio, R.; La Mattina, A. A.; Nadimi, P.; Wang, J.; Kim, B.; Kumeria, T.; Sailor, M. J.; Barillaro, G., Adv. Func. Mater. 2020, 30, 1906836), this module describes how to prepare a small silicone rubber-based hemisphere that can be temporarily stuck to the window of a cell phone camera, converting it into a simple microscope. The module consists of two parts: the first one gives the preparation protocol and a description of how the lenses are prepared using a nanostructured porous silicon layer as a surface template; the second gives some simple experiments that can be performed with the cell phone microscope. The lenses are made available through the educational outreach component of the UC San Diego Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Click here for the synthesis of the silicone microlens from a nanostructured porous silicon template, and its use as a simple cell phone camera-based microscope.

The Roving Spectrometer: Remote training on use and applications of optical spectrometers

Claire with her roving spectrometer

Developed by Claire Zhang (left) in response to the coronavirus pandemic in Summer 2020, each Roving Spectrometer consists of a backpack that contains a miniature spectrometer, optical fibers, lenses, sample stage, light sources, and the ancillary components needed to perform optical reflectance, diffuse reflectance, and photoluminescence measurements on various solid samples. The kit also contains representative samples to support the training experiments.

How to set it up. PDF file giving the standard operating procedure (SOP) for setting up the spectrometer.

Training experiments. PDF file providing the baseline training experiments to familiarize the beginner with optical characterization of some representative (non-toxic) nanomaterials: a Fabry-Perot thin film, a one-dimensional photonic crystal, and photoluminescent silicon "quantum dots"

Schematics and Engineering Diagrams

Standard etch cell exploded view

Standard etch cell. PDF file of the top and the base of a Teflon electrochemical cell used for two-electrode anodization of silicon chips. Makes porous Si layer approx 1.24 cm in diameter.

Large etch cell. PDF file of the top and the base of a Teflon electrochemical cell used for two-electrode anodization of silicon chips. Makes porous Si layer approx 3.5 cm in diameter.

Glass top (PDF file) for sealing the etch cell to perform anaerobic electrochemistry or spectroscopy.

Clamp (PDF file) to hold the above glass top in place.


Link to a separate page listing Labview and Igor Pro codes for computer controlled etching, for generating etch waveforms, for optical characterization of thin films (including the Spectroscopic Liquid Infiltration Method SLIM, and Reflective Interferometric Fourier Transform Spectroscopy RIFTS), and other programs intended to streamline data analysis.

Upcoming Meetings

PSST Logo 2022 PSST

Porous Semiconductors Science and Technology (PSST) 2024 Run every two years since 1998, the PSST meeting is the premier meeting dedicated to porous semiconductors. The forthcoming 12th PSST Conference (PSST-2024) is currently being planned to be held in the Czech Republic in 2024. Dates and location to be announced.

Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology (SSSiN)

The SSSiN is a hands-on, immersive summer workshop on the preparation, characterization, and applications of porous silicon-based nanomaterials. It is part of the Research Immersion in Materials Science & Engineering (RIMSE) program of the UC San Diego MRSEC, one of the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers. Focused on research at the nano-bio interface, the SSSiN program begins with an intensive training in theory, techniques and laboratory methods of silicon nanotechnology (based on Prof. Sailor's book "Porous Silicon in Practice"), and concludes with a capstone “Discovery Project”--an independent research project implemented by the student under the mentorship of a current research group member. It is for incoming graduate students, undergraduates, visiting scholars, and high school students who have an interest in learning the laboratory techniques associated with this material.

Books on porous silicon

Canham, L. T. (ed), Handbook of Porous Silicon. Springer: Switzerland, 2014; 1017 pages. This is the bible for porous silicon researchers--a collection of chapters written by all of the leading experts in the field of porous silicon, comprehensively covering fabrication, properties, characterization, processing, and applications of porous silicon. Pretty much anything you might want to know about this material is in this book.

Sailor, M. J., Porous Silicon in Practice: Preparation, Characterization, and Applications. Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 2012; 249 pages. How-to book written as a series of experiments that give step-by-step instructions in the preparation of the more common forms of porous silicon under study today: mesoporous films, macroporous films, microparticles, nanoparticles, photoluminescent porous silicon, photonic crystals, microcavities, and Bragg stacks.


Incomplete list of and links to key researchers working in the field of porous silicon

Prof. Vivechana Agarwal, Autonomous State University of Morelos; MEXICO
Prof. Ekaterina Astrova, Ioffe Research Institute, Saint Petersburg; RUSSIA
Prof. Hanna Bandarenka, Belarussian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics; BELARUS
Prof. Giuseppe Barillaro, FoReLab, Università di Pisa; ITALY
Prof. Brahim Bessais, Res.& Tech. Centre of Energy; TUNISIA
Dr. Luca Boarino, INRIM, Torino; ITALY
Prof. Leigh Canham, pSiMedica Ltd., UK
Prof. Andres Cantarero, University of Valencia, SPAIN
Prof. Jeffrey Coffer, Texas Christian University; USA
Prof. Frederique Cunin, CNRS; FRANCE
Prof. Luca De Stefano, IMM, Naples; ITALY
Prof. Thierry Djenizian, Universités d'Aix-Marseille; FRANCE
Prof. Laurent Francis, Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain); BELGIUM
Prof. Gael Gautier, University of Tours; FRANCE
Prof. Justin Gooding, University of New South Wales, Sydney; AUSTRALIA
Mag. Dr. Petra Granitzer, University of Graz; AUSTRIA
Prof. Adrian Keating, University of Western Australia, Crawley; AUSTRALIA
Prof. Roberto Koropecki, INTEC-UNL-CONICET, Santa Fe; ARGENTINA
Prof. Nobuyoshi Koshida, Tokyo University of A&T, JAPAN
Prof. Enrique Quiroga, Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla (BUAP); MEXICO
Prof. Klemens Rumpf, University of Graz; AUSTRIA
Prof. Amir Saar, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; ISRAEL
Prof. Michael Sailor, University of California, San Diego, USA
Prof. Jarno Salonen, Turku University; FINLAND
Prof. Patrik Schmuki, Univerity of Erlangen; GERMANY
Prof. Ester Segal, Technion; ISRAEL
Prof. Honglae Sohn, Chosun University; KOREA
Prof. Victor Timoshenko, Lomonosov Moscow State University, RUSSIA
Prof. Nico Voelcker, Mawson Institute, University of South Australia; AUSTRALIA
Prof. Sharon Weiss; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA
Prof. Jianmin Wu, Zhejiang University; CHINA

Companies working in the nano silicon field

Incomplete list of the companies who make or use porous silicon or silicon nanoparticles:

(COI Disclosure: Prof. Sailor MJS is a scientific founder (SF), member of the Board of Directors (BOD), Advisory Board (AB), Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), acts as a paid consultant (PC) or has an equity interest (EI) in the following: Aivocode, Inc (AB, EI); Bejing ITEC Technologies (SAB, PC); Lisata Therapeutics (SF, EI); Illumina (EI), Impilo (SF, SAB, EI); Matrix Technologies (EI); Precis Therapeutics (SF, BOD, EI); Quanterix (EI), Spinnaker Biosciences, Inc. (SF, BOD, EI); TruTag Technologies (SAB, EI); and Well-Healthcare Technologies (SAB, PC). MJS has also served as a Guest Professor at Zhejiang University, China and Hangzhou Normal University, China. The terms of these arrangements have been reviewed and approved by the University of California, San Diego in accordance with its conflict of interest policies)

Commercial source of silicon nanoparticles, primarily focused on Li ion battery applications.

Advanced Micromachining Tools (AMMT)
Porous silicon etching equipment

Beijing ITEC Technologies Co., Ltd

Porous Si used in RF circuits, complex characterization tools, and medical diagnostic devices based on porous Si

Matrix Industries
Thermoelectric generators based on silicon nanotechnology

Oncosil Medical
Treatment of pancreatic and liver cancer via radiotherapeutics embedded in porous Si

PicoTechnologies Nano Materials Co, Ltd.
Sensors for explosives and industrial pollutants

Porous silicon, etching equipment, specialized services

Precis Therapeutics
Targeted therapeutics for infectious diseases

Porous silicon materials, specialized services

Porous silicon films in silicon-based membranes for bio-MEMs applications: specimen and data capture

Silicon nanoparticles embedded in carbon for Li ion battery applications

Medical therapeutics, focused on RNAi

Spinnaker Biosciences
Medical therapeutics with porous silicon

TruTag Technologies
Taggants for anti-counterfeiting applications, specialized synthesis of porous silicon

Paraclete Energy
A commercial source of silicon nanoparticles, primarily focused on Li ion battery applications.

Well-Healthcare Technologies
Using porous Si in as an analytical platform for next-generation tumor liquid biopsies based on high-throughput mass spectroscopy (MALDI, SALDI, etc). Developing nanochips for rapid screening of microorganisms, cells, nucleic acids, antibiotics.

Related links

"There's plenty of room at the bottom" The talk that started it all: transcript of Richard Feynman's 1959 lecture on nanotechnology

"The Three Laws of Nanorobotics" Prof. Sailor's TEDx talk on the emergence of nanotechnology in medicine (The three laws are: 1. Nanoparticles must not be toxic or otherwise harmful; 2. Nanoparticles must follow their chemical programming; 3. Nanoparticles must degrade into harmless components when they are finished with their task).

"Treatment of Infections with Self-Destructing, Self-Targeting Nanoparticles" Prof. Sailor's talk to the Mid-Atlantic Micro/Nano Alliance (MAMNA) Virtual Seminar (recorded July 16, 2020) More than you ever wanted to know about the quantum physics of photonic crystals