Versatile particle-based route to engineer vertically aligned silicon nanowire arrays and nanoscale pores

Control over particle self-assembly is a prerequisite for the colloidal templating of lithographical etching masks to define nanostructures. This work integrates and combines for the first time bottom-up and top-down approaches, namely, particle self-assembly at liquid?liquid interfaces and metal-assisted chemical etching, to generate vertically aligned silicon nanowire (VA-SiNW) arrays and, alternatively, arrays of nanoscale pores in a silicon wafer. Of particular importance, and in contrast to current techniques, including conventional colloidal lithography, this approach provides excellent control over the nanowire or pore etching site locations and decouples nanowire or pore diameter and spacing. The spacing between pores or nanowires is tuned by adjusting the specific area of the particles at the liquid?liquid interface before deposition. Hence, the process enables fast and low-cost fabrication of ordered nanostructures in silicon and can be easily scaled up. We demonstrate that the fabricated VA-SiNW arrays can be used as in vitro transfection platforms for transfecting human primary cells.