Tuning the Color of Silicon Nanostructures

Linyou Cao, Pengyu Fan, Edward S. Barnard, Ana M. Brown, Mark L. Brongersma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Scopus citations


Empowering silicon (Si) with optical functions constitutes a very important challenge in photonics. The scalable fabrication capabilities for this earth-abundant, environmentally friendly material are unmatched in sophistication and can be unleashed to realize a plethora of high-performance photonic functionalities that find application in information, bio-, display, camouflage, ornamental, and energy technologies. Nanofashioning represents a general strategy to turn Si into a useful optical material and Si structures have already been engineered to enable light emission, optical cloaking, waveguiding, nonlinear optics, enhanced light absorption, and sensing. Here, we demonstrate that a wide spectrum of colors can be generated by harnessing the strong resonant light scattering properties of Si nanostructures under white light illumination. The ability to engineer such colors in a predetermined fashion through a choice of the structure size, dielectric environment, and illumination conditions opens up entirely new applications of Si and puts this material in a new light. © 2010 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2649-2654
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 14 2010
Externally publishedYes


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