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Title: Cu2O thin films for p-type metal oxide thin film transistors
Author: Han, Sanggil
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 5305
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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The rapid progress of n-type metal oxide thin film transistors (TFTs) has motivated research on p-type metal oxide TFTs in order to realise metal oxide-based CMOS circuits which enable low power consumption large-area electronics. Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) has previously been proposed as a suitable active layer for p-type metal oxide TFTs. The two most significant challenges for achieving good quality Cu2O TFTs are to overcome the low field-effect mobility and an unacceptably high off-state current that are a feature of devices that have been reported to date. This dissertation focuses on improving the carrier mobility, and identifying the main origins of the low field-effect mobility and high off-state current in Cu2O TFTs. This work has three major findings. The first major outcome is a demonstration that vacuum annealing can be used to improve the carrier mobility in Cu2O without phase conversion, such as oxidation (CuO) or oxide reduction (Cu). In order to allow an in-depth discussion on the main origins of the very low carrier mobility in as-deposited films and the mobility enhancement by annealing, a quantitative analysis of the relative dominance of the main conduction mechanisms (i.e. trap-limited and grain-boundary-limited conduction) is performed. This shows that the low carrier mobility of as-deposited Cu2O is due to significant grain-boundary-limited conduction. In contrast, after annealing, grain-boundary-limited conduction becomes insignificant due to a considerable reduction in the energy barrier height at grain boundaries, and therefore trap-limited conduction dominates. A further mobility improvement by an increase in annealing temperature is explained by a reduction in the effect of trap-limited conduction resulting from a decrease in tail state density. The second major outcome of this work is the observation that grain orientation ([111] or [100] direction) of sputter-deposited Cu2O can be varied by control of the incident ion-to-Cu flux ratio. Using this technique, a systematic investigation on the effect of grain orientation on carrier mobility in Cu2O thin films is presented, which shows that the [100] Cu2O grain orientation is more favourable for realising a high carrier mobility. In the third and final outcome of this thesis, the temperature dependence of the drain current as a function of gate voltage along with the C-V characteristics reveals that minority carriers (electrons) cause the high off-state current in Cu2O TFTs. In addition, it is observed that an abrupt lowering of the activation energy and pinning of the Fermi energy occur in the off-state, which is attributed to subgap states at 0.38 eV below the conduction band minimum. These findings provide readers with the understanding of the main origins of the low carrier mobility and high off-state current in Cu2O TFTs, and the future research direction for resolving these problems.
Supervisor: Flewitt, Andrew Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Cuprous oxide ; p-type metal oxide ; sputtering ; thin film transistors