Flexible Transparent and Free-Standing Silicon Nanowires Paper

If the flexible transparent and free-standing paper-like materials that would be expected to meet emerging technological demands, such as components of transparent electrical batteries, flexible solar cells, bendable electronics, paper displays, wearable computers, and so on, could be achieved in silicon, it is no doubt that the traditional semiconductor materials would be rejuvenated. Bulk silicon cannot provide a solution because it usually exhibits brittleness at below their melting point temperature due to high Peierls stress. Fortunately, when the silicon’s size goes down to nanoscale, it possesses the ultralarge straining ability, which results in the possibility to design flexible transparent and self-standing silicon nanowires paper (FTS-SiNWsP). However, realization of the FTS-SiNWsP is still a challenging task due largely to the subtlety in the preparation of a unique interlocking alignment with free-catalyst controllable growth. Herein, we present a simple synthetic strategy by gas flow directed assembly of a unique interlocking alignment of the Si nanowires (SiNWs) to produce, for the first time, the FTS-SiNWsP, which consisted of interconnected SiNWs with the diameter of ∼10 nm via simply free-catalyst thermal evaporation in a vertical high-frequency induction furnace. This approach opens up the possibility for creating various flexible transparent functional devices based on the FTS-SiNWsP.