Characterization and Improvements to Porous Silicon Processing for Nanoenergetics

Report No. ARL-TR-4717
Authors: Collin Becker, Luke Currano, and Wayne Churaman
Date/Pages: February 2009; 20 pages
Abstract: Nano-porous silicon offers a large surface area to volume ratio typical of nano materials and contains a network of pores that can be filled with oxidant. When a silicon fuel source is combined with an oxidant on the nano-scale, kinetic limitations of silicon oxidation are overcome and an explosive reaction is realized. We present a characterization of lightly doped p-type silicon for nanoenergetic porous silicon (PS) applications. Using gas adsorption measurements and gravimetric techniques, we characterize pore size, porosity, specific surface area, and thickness of PS thin films. Additionally, we report on the energetic reaction of the PS/oxidant system and mechanical stability of PS formed under several etch conditions including varied etch current, drying techniques, and annealing. Prior research has not focused on sample preparation methods of PS for gas adsorption measurements, but results presented here indicate that the method of PS sample preparation for gas adsorption isotherm analysis impacts the results. We find that a newly reported gravimetric technique for PS parameter characterization is inconsistent with expected PS property trends for lightly doped p-type Si.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2009