The aim of this study is to investigate the micrometer and submicrometer scale structuring of silicon by liquid chlorine and fluorine precursors with 200 fs laser pulses working at both fundamental (775 nm) and frequency doubled (387 nm) wavelengths. The silicon surface was irradiated at normal incidence by immersing the Si (111) substrates in a glass container filled with liquid chlorine (CCl4) and fluorine (C2Cl3F3) precursors. We report that silicon surfaces develop an array of spikes with single step irradiation processes at 775 nm and equally at 387 nm. When irradiating the Si surface with 400 pulses at 330 mJ/cm2 laser fluence and a 775 nm wavelength, the average height of the formed Si spikes in the case of fluorine precursors is 4.2 μm, with a full width at half maximum of 890 nm. At the same irradiation wavelength chlorine precursors develop Si spikes 4 μm in height and with a full width at half maximum of 2.3 μm with irradiation of 700 pulses at 560 mJ/cm2 laser fluence. Well ordered areas of submicrometer spikes with an average height of about 500 nm and a width of 300 nm have been created by irradiation at 387 nm by chlorine precursors, whereas the fluorine precursors fabricate spikes with an average height of 700 nm and a width of about 200 nm. Atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy of the surface show that the formation of the micrometer and sub-micrometer spikes involves a combination of capillary waves on the molten silicon surface and laser-induced etching of silicon, at both 775 nm and 387 nm wavelength irradiation. The energy-dispersive x-ray measurements indicate the presence of chlorine and fluorine precursors on the structured surface. The fluorine precursors create a more ordered area of Si spikes at both micrometer and sub-micrometer scales. The potential use of patterned Si substrates with gradient topography as model scaffolds for the systematic exploration of the role of 3D micro/nano morphology on cell adhesion and growth is envisaged.

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