Growth Chemistry of Nanocrystalline Si:H Films


We report on the growth of nanocrystalline Si:H films using both plasma CVD and remote hot wire deposition under systematically varied growth conditions. The films were grown from mixtures of silane and hydrogen. It was found that when the films were grown under low pressure VHF plasma growth conditions, the orientation of the film changed as the pressure increased. At the lowest pressures, the films were mainly <111> oriented, but changed to <220> orientation as the pressure increased. The grain size increased as the growth temperature increased. When the films were grown using remote hot wire deposition, the orientation depended upon both hydrogen dilution and growth temperature. As the hydrogen dilution increased, the <220> grain size became smaller. Grain size as large as 36 nm was obtained by controlling the growth conditions in hot wire deposition. As the growth temperature increased, the size of <220> grains increased. Growth rates also increased with increasing temperature. The data can be explained by invoking a growth model which recognizes that the natural growth direction for Si is <220>, since the surface energy is highest for (220) plane. Random nucleation leads to <111> grains. Bonded H is believed to inhibit the growth of <220> grains.

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We thank NSF and NREL for partial support of this work. We also thank Xuejun Niu for many interesting discussions regarding the growth of nc-Ge:H films.

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Correspondence to Vikram L. Dalal.

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Dalal, V.L., Muthukrishnan, K., Stieler, D. et al. Growth Chemistry of Nanocrystalline Si:H Films. MRS Online Proceedings Library 862, 214 (2004).

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