Rapid thermal annealing and furnace annealing for the solid phase crystallization of amorphous silicon thin films deposited using PECVD from argon diluted silane have been compared. Results reveal that the crystallization time, the growth time, and the transient time are temperature activated, and that the resulting polycrystalline silicon grain size is inversely proportional to the annealing temperature, for both furnace annealing and rapid thermal annealing. In addition, rapid thermal annealing was found to result in a lower transient time, a lower growth time, a lower crystallization time, and smaller grain sizes than furnace annealing, for a given annealing temperature. Interestingly, the transient time, growth time, and crystallization time activation energies are much lower for rapid thermal annealing, compared to furnace annealing.
We propose two models to explain the observed differences between rapid thermal annealing and furnace annealing.