Efficient photon capture on germanium surfaces using industrially feasible nanostructure formation

Kexun Chen, Joonas Isometsä, Toni P. Pasanen, Ville Vähänissi, Hele Savin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Nanostructured surfaces are known to provide excellent optical properties for various photonics devices. Fabrication of such nanoscale structures to germanium (Ge) surfaces by metal assisted chemical etching (MACE) is, however, challenging as Ge surface is highly reactive resulting often in micron-level rather than nanoscale structures. Here we show that by properly controlling the process, it is possible to confine the chemical reaction only to the vicinity of the metal nanoparticles and obtain nanostructures also in Ge. Furthermore, it is shown that controlling the density of the nanoparticles, concentration of oxidizing and dissolving agents as well as the etching time plays a crucial role in successful nanostructure formation. We also discuss the impact of high mobility of charge carriers on the chemical reactions taking place on Ge surfaces. As a result we propose a simple one-step MACE process that results in nanoscale structures with less than 10% surface reflectance in the wavelength region between 400 and 1600 nm. The method consumes only a small amount of Ge and is thus industrially viable and also applicable to thin Ge layers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035301
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • nanostructures
  • nanoparticles
  • germanium
  • metal assisted chemical etching
  • photonics


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