Silicon nanowires catalyzed by Ti islands have been grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) using Si2H6 as the gas source and characterized by in situ reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED), scanning-electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission-electron microscopy (TEM). Approximately one monolayer of Ti was deposited on Si(001) wafers, which, during annealing, reacted with silicon and formed TiSi2 islands. After annealing, but before Si growth, the stoichiometric TiSi2 (C49) phase was observed with RHEED.
The silicon nanowires are typically between 20 and 40 nanometers in diameter and several hundred nanometers long. The nanowires changed their growth direction several times during growth, resulting in complex RHEED patterns, which can be matched very well by simulated RHEED patterns calculated assuming that the nanowires change their direction by twinning along (111) planes. RHEED patterns of epitaxial silicon nanowires, first-order twinned nanowires (twinned relative to the substrate orientation), second-order twinned nanowires (twinned relative to the first-order twin), and TiSi2 were observed.