Laser-assisted localized growth of semiconducting nanostructures is reported. As is the case of conventional crystal growth, localized laser enables three kinds of crystal growth: (1) melt growth (recrystallization) of amorphous silicon nanopillars by pulsed laser; (2) vapor growth (chemical vapor deposition) of germanium nanowires; (3) solution growth (hydrothermal growth) of zinc oxide nanowires. The results not only demonstrate programmable and digital fabrication of laser-assisted crystal growth, but also reveal unusual growth chacracteristics (grain morphologies, growth kinetics). Related to solar applications, it is suggested that these structures can act as epitaxial seeds for growth of coarse grains and as multi-spectral centers for enhanced and engineered light absorption.
Nanosecond laser ablation of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) protected silver nanoparticle (20 nm diameter) film is studied using a frequency doubled Nd:YAG nanosecond laser (532 nm wavelength, 6 ns full width half maximum pulse width). In the sintered silver nanoparticle film, absorbed light energy conducts well through the sintered porous structure, resulting in ablation craters of a porous dome shape or crown shape depending on the irradiation fluence due to the sudden vaporization of the PVP. In the unsintered silver nanoparticle film, the ablation crater with a clean edge profile is formed and many coalesced nanoparticles of 50 to 100 nm in size are observed inside the ablation crater. These results and an order of magnitude analysis indicate that the absorbed thermal energy is confined within the nanoparticles, causing melting of nanoparticles and their coalescence to larger agglomerates, which are removed following melting and subsequent partial vaporization.