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Experimental Study of Silane Plasma Nanoparticle Formation in Amorphous Silicon Thin Films

  • S. Thompson (a1), C. R. Perrey (a2), T. J. Belich (a3), C. Blackwell (a3), C. B. Carter (a2), J. Kakalios (a3) and U. Kortshagen (a1)...


RF glow discharge deposited hydrogenated amorphous silicon films containing silicon nanocrystalline inclusions (a/nc-Si:H) films are investigated as a function of a thermal gradient applied across the silane plasma during film growth. The a/nc-Si:H films are synthesized from hydrogen-diluted silane plasmas when a capacitively-coupled plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition reactor is operated at high gas chamber pressures. Plasma diagnostics and transmission electron microscopy image analysis of films deposited with and without a thermal gradient suggest that nanoparticle formation occurs within the plasma, rather than resulting from solid-state nucleation at the growing film surface.



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