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Ablation lithography is based on the photo-decomposition ablation of polymer materials by excimer laser. It is a self-development process, and accordingly possible to reduce the throughput time and manufacturing cost of TFT-LCD. The major alterations from the conventional photolithography are the resist material and the mask. Developing both the technologies and using an experimental exposure& aligner, we fabricated a TFT pattern on 300 × 400 mm2 glass substrate. The result proves the feasibility of EAL as an high throughput lithography suitable for a-Si TFT.
The influence of hydrogen in a precursor on excimer laser crystallization behavior was investigated. The crystal orientation and lattice constant of polycrystalline silicon films were analyzed by X-ray diffraction measurement. An intensity ratio of 111 to 220 was used as an index of the (111) preferred orientation. A randomly oriented film with an index of 2 at lower energy density changed to the highly (111) oriented phase with an index of more than 15 at higher energy density. It was observed in the PE-CVD films that increasing the hydrogen in the precursor films decreased the orientation index. The lattice constant of the laser-annealed PE-CVD silicon was found to be larger than that of the PVD silicon and to decrease with an increase in laser energy density. The network structure of as-deposited PVD film with less hydrogen content was denser than that of as-deposited PE-CVD. The network structure of the precursor strongly affected the crystal growth, and the structure of the ELC poly-Si was still affected by the precursors, even though the hydrogen content decreased after laser annealing.
In order to clarify the relationship between excimer laser fluence gradient and the length of lateral grain growth, the laser fluence is modulated by a beam mask. The fluence distribution is measured by using a negative UV photoresist. The lateral growth length and the grain directionality are improved with increasing fluence gradient. Lateral growth length of about 1.5 [.proportional]m is achieved by using a single laser pulse without substrate heating on a 50 nm-thick a-Si film by enforcing high fluence gradient. Electrical conductance measurement is used to probe the solidification dynamics. The lateral solidification velocity is found to be about 7 m/s.
The liquid-solid interface motion and the temperature history of thin Si films during excimer laser annealing are observed by in-situ experiments combining time-resolved (∼Ins) electrical conductance, optical reflectance/transmittance at visible and near-IR wavelength, and thermal emission measurements. The existence of partial and complete melting regimes is elucidated. In the partial melting regime, the maximum temperature remains close to the melting point of aSi, since the laser energy is consumed on the latent heat of phase-change. In the complete melting regime, substantial supercooling, followed by homogeneous nucleation is observed. These phase transformations are consistent with the recrystallized poly-Si morphologies.
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