A study of the electrical and optical properties of unhydrogenated neon-sputtered amorphous silicon
Films of amorphous silicon (a-Si) were prepared by r.f. sputtering in a Ne plasma without the addition of hydrogen or a halogen. The d.c. dark electrical conductivity, he optical gap and the photoconductivity of the films were investigated for a range of preparation conditions, the sputtering gas pressure, P, the target-substrate spacing, d, the self-bias voltage, Vsb, on the target and the substrate temperature, Ts. The dependence of the electrical and optical properties on these conditions showed that various combinations of P, d and Vsb, at a constant Ts, giving the same product (Pd/V sb) result in films with similar properties, provided that P, d and Vsb remain vithin a certain range. Variation of Pd/Vsb between about 0.2 and 0.8 rrTorr.cm!V varied the dark conductivity over about 4 orders of magnitude, the optical gap by 0.5 eV and the photoconductivity over 4-5 orders of magnitude. This is attributed to controlling the density-of-states distribution in the mobility gap. The temperature-dependence of photoconductivity and the photoresponse of undoped films are in support of this conclusion. Films prepared at relatively high (Pd/Vsb) values and Ts=300 ºc: exhibited low dark-conductivity and high thermal activation energy, optical gap and photoresponse, characteristic properties of a 'low density-of-states material. P-type doping with group-Ill elements (Al, B and Ga) by sputtering from a composite target or from a predoped target (B-.doped) was investigated. The systematic variation of room-temperature conductivity over many orders of magnitude and a Fermi-level shift of about 0.7 eV towards the valence-band edge suggest that substitutional doping had taken place. The effects of preparation conditions on doping efficiency were also investigated. The post-deposition annealing of undoped and doped films were studied for a temperature range from 250 ºC to 470 ºC. It was shown that annealing enhanced the doping efficiency considerably, although it had little effect on the basic material (a-Si) prepared at the optimum conditions (Pd/Vsb=0.8 mTorr.cm/V and Ts=300 ºC). Preliminary experiments on devices imply potential applications of the present material, such as p-n and MS junctions.