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Phase Diagrams for the Optimization of rf Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition of a-Si:H: Variations in Plasma Power and Substrate Temperature

  • Andre S. Ferlauto (a1), Randy J. Koval (a1), Christopher R. Wronski (a1) and Robert W. Collins (a1)


Real time spectroscopic ellipsometry (RTSE) has been applied to characterize surface roughening transitions during the growth of undoped hydrogenated silicon (Si:H) thin films by rf plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). In particular, the amorphous–to–amorphous surface roughening transition [→] and the amorphous–to–(mixed-phase-microcrystalline) roughening transition [a→(a+µc)] observed during Si:H growth have been studied under different PECVD conditions of hydrogen dilution ratio R=[H2]/[SiH4], rf plasma power P, and substrate temperature T. For Si:H growth on crystalline Si substrates under the different conditions, phase diagrams have been constructed by plotting the bulk film thicknesses at which these transitions occur as a function of R. The effects of the substrate (c-Si wafers versus amorphous Si:H films) on the a→(a+µc) transition of the phase diagram are also explored. The results provide deeper insights into recent attempts to improve the material properties and solar cell performance for a-Si:H i-layers prepared by rf PECVD at higher rates.



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