A novel, simple and in situ hard mask technology that can be used to develop high aspect ratio siliconnanopillar and nanowire features on a substrate surface is demonstrated. The technique combines a block copolymer inclusion method that generates nanodot arrays on substrate and an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etch processing step to fabricate Si nanopillar and nanowire arrays. Iron oxide was found to be an excellent resistant mask over silicon under the selected etching conditions. Features of a very high aspect ratio can be created by this method. The nanopillars have uniform diameter and smooth sidewalls throughout their entire length. The diameter (15–27 nm) and length of the nanopillars can be tuned easily. Different spectroscopic and microscopic techniques were used to examine the morphology and size, surface composition and crystallinity of the resultant patterns. The methodology developed may have important technological applications and provide an inexpensive manufacturing route to nanodimensioned topographical patterns. The high aspect ratio of the features may have importance in the area of photonics and the photoluminescence properties are found to be similar to those of surface-oxidized silicon nanocrystals and porous silicon.