We report on the formation of one- and two-dimensional (1D and 2D) nanohole arrays on the surface of a silicon wafer by scanning with a femtosecond laser with appropriate power and speed. The underlying physical mechanism is revealed by numerical simulation based on the finite-difference time-domain technique. It is found that the length and depth of the initially formed gratings (or ripples) plays a crucial role in the generation of 1D or 2D nanohole arrays. The silicon surface decorated with such nanohole arrays can exhibit vivid structural colors through efficiently diffracting white light.
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