Nanomanufacturing of silicon surface with a single atomic layer precision via mechanochemical reactions

Lei Chen, Jialin Wen, Peng Zhang, Bingjun Yu, Cheng Chen, Tianbao Ma, Xinchun Lu, Seong H. Kim, Linmao Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Topographic nanomanufacturing with a depth precision down to atomic dimension is of importance for advancement of nanoelectronics with new functionalities. Here we demonstrate a mask-less and chemical-free nanolithography process for regio-specific removal of atomic layers on a single crystalline silicon surface via shear-induced mechanochemical reactions. Since chemical reactions involve only the topmost atomic layer exposed at the interface, the removal of a single atomic layer is possible and the crystalline lattice beneath the processed area remains intact without subsurface structural damages. Molecular dynamics simulations depict the atom-by-Atom removal process, where the first atomic layer is removed preferentially through the formation and dissociation of interfacial bridge bonds. Based on the parametric thresholds needed for single atomic layer removal, the critical energy barrier for water-Assisted mechanochemical dissociation of Si-Si bonds was determined. The mechanochemical nanolithography method demonstrated here could be extended to nanofabrication of other crystalline materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1542
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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