There is significant interest in optical sensors whose fabrication process is fully compatible with existing flat panel display thin film transistor (TFT) technology. Here, we report a field-effect phototransistor with a channel comprising a thin nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) transport layer and a thicker hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) absorption layer. The implementation of nc-Si:H layer improves device stability in comparison with a-Si:H phototransistors, resulting in reduced threshold voltage shift. Semiconductor and dielectric layers were deposited by radio-frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition at 280°C. The device characterization included the dark and light transfer characteristics, spectral-response and dynamic measurements. The external quantum efficiency was measured as a function of incident photon flux at different biasing conditions. The phototransistor with channel length of 24 microns and photosensitive area of 1.4 mm2 shows an off-current of about 1 pA, and photo-conductive gain up to 200 at low incident intensities. Thus, the results demonstrate the feasibility of the phototransistor for low light level detection.
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The authors are grateful to the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology for financial support of this research through the PIDDAC Program funds and research Project PTDC/EEA-ELC/115577/2009, and to the Giga-to-Nanoelectronics Centre at the University of Waterloo for providing the necessary equipment and technical help to carry out this work.
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Vygranenko, Y., Sazonov, A., Fernandes, M. et al. Thin-Film Phototransistor with nc-Si:H/a-Si:H Bilayer Channel. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1426, 205–210 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2012.1180