Columnar mesoporous silicon (PSi) with hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic chemistries was chosen as a model for the local (pore-by-pore) study of water-pore interactions. Tomographic reconstructions provided a 3D view of the ramified pore structure. An in situ study of PSi wetting was conducted for categorized pore diameters by environmental scanning TEM. An appropriate setting of the contrast allows for the normalization of the gray scale in the images as a function of relative humidity (RH). This allows constructing an isotherm for each single pore and a subsequent averaging provides an isotherm for each pore size range. The isotherms systematically point to an initial adsorption through the formation of water adlayers, followed by a capillary filling process at higher RH. The local isotherms correlate with (global) gravimetric determination of wetting. Our results point at the validation of a technique for the study of aging and stability of single-pore nanoscale devices.

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