Magnetic field alignment of randomly oriented, high aspect ratio silicon microwires into vertically oriented arrays

Joseph A. Beardslee, Bryce Sadtler, Nathan S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


External magnetic fields have been used to vertically align ensembles of silicon microwires coated with ferromagnetic nickel films. X-ray diffraction and image analysis techniques were used to quantify the degree of vertical orientation of the microwires. The degree of vertical alignment and the minimum field strength required for alignment were evaluated as a function of the wire length, coating thickness, magnetic history, and substrate surface properties. Nearly 100% of 100 μm long, 2 μm diameter, Si microwires that had been coated with 300 nm of Ni could be vertically aligned by a 300 G magnetic field. For wires ranging from 40 to 60 μm in length, as the length of the wire increased, a higher degree of alignment was observed at lower field strengths, consistent with an increase in the available magnetic torque. Microwires that had been exposed to a magnetic sweep up to 300 G remained magnetized and, therefore, aligned more readily during subsequent magnetic field alignment sweeps. Alignment of the Ni-coated Si microwires occurred at lower field strengths on hydrophilic Si substrates than on hydrophobic Si substrates. The magnetic field alignment approach provides a pathway for the directed assembly of solution-grown semiconductor wires into vertical arrays, with potential applications in solar cells as well as in other electronic devices that utilize nano- and microscale components as active elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10303-10310
Number of pages8
JournalACS nano
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 27 2012


  • Ni electrodeposition
  • X-ray diffraction
  • image analysis
  • magnetic coatings
  • vapor-liquid-solid growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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