The role of substrate ion bombardment on the structural and H bonding properties of hydrogenated amorphous germanium (a-Ge:H) films was studied by infrared (ir) spectroscopy. A Kaufman type ion source was used to produce an Ar1 beam directed towards a Ge target for a- Ge:H ion beam sputtering deposition in a H2-containing vacuum chamber. A low energy (100 eV) H2
++Ar+ beam obtained from an additional ion source was allowed to impinge directly on the substrate during film growth at various beam currents.
It was found that substrate bombardment by 100 eV ions favors the formation of voids, as deduced from the increasing contribution of the surface-like Ge-H stretching mode to the ir spectrum with increasing ion current. The void density was reduced below the ir detection limit by totally removing the ion beam on the substrate while keeping all other parameters fixed. For this condition, we observe no or very small surface-like contributions to the ir spectra, irrespective of substrate temperature (25-260°C) or growth rate used. A narrowing of the infrared Ge-H stretching mode peak is observed with increasing deposition temperature, indicating a concomitant tendency towards a more ordered structure.