Special Issue Paper

Journal of Electronic Materials

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 1452-1456

First online:

Optical characterization of hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin films deposited at high rate

  • S. H. LinAffiliated withDepartment of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong
  • , Y. C. ChanAffiliated withDepartment of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong
  • , D. P. WebbAffiliated withDepartment of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong
  • , Y. W. LamAffiliated withDepartment of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide a better understanding of hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin films (a-Si:H) in relation to their optical properties: refractive index, optical gap, absorption coefficient, thickness and surface roughness. The transmission spectrum of the films, deposited with various rf discharge power densities by an optimized plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) method, at a high rate (>10 Å/sec), was measured over a range in wavelength from 500 to 1100 nm. An approximate model is utilized to describe the surface roughness. In this model, the surface roughness is modeled as a mixed layer of 50 percent of a-Si:H and 50 percent of air and the optical constant of the rough layer is derived using the Bruggemann effective medium approximation (EMA). The gradient iteration method of numerical analysis is used to solve the nonlinear equations in the study. Our results show that the potential underestimation of refractive index and resulting overestimation of film thickness can be overcome by considering the reflection of the rough surface. The method is carried out on the transmission data and the influence of rf discharge power density on the properties of the film is discussed in detail.

Key words

Hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin film PECVD surface roughness absorption coefficient transmission EMA