We review here our work on the photonic and sensor applications of nanostructured silicon. As we change the dimensionality of silicon very fascinating and new optical properties of the material appear. Light sources, modulators, waveguides, logical gates are a few examples of the various photonic devices which have been developed based on silicon nanocrystals. Needless to say, all these devices rely on quantum confinement and on the interplay between bulk and surface properties. Size effects and surface reconstructions are two critical issues which one has to master to employ silicon nanocrystals. Finally the use of silicon nanocrystals to develop innovative sensing mechanisms to reveal biomolecules or poisoning gasses will be discussed.
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