Hydrogenated amorphous silicon-chalcogen alloy thin films have been the subject of growing interest during the past two decades. Thin films of these alloys are usually prepared by the decomposition of SiH4 and H2S or H2Se gas mixtures in a radiofrequency plasma glow discharge at a substrate temperature of 250°C. The alloy composition is varied by changing the gas volume ratio RV = [chalcogen/silane]. Infrared spectroscopy is used to explore the bonding structure of the alloy. The material exhibits hydrogen-induced bands, normally observed in a-Si:H spectra and other chalcogen-induced bands resulting from bonding chalcogen atoms with hydrogen and silicon. Analysis of the vibrational spectra of this material reveals the presence of significant levels of Si-chalcogen-SiHn configurations. Optical and electrical measurements show that increasing the chalcogen content results in an increase of the optical (Tauc) gap and a decrease in dark conductivity and photoconductivity. Subgap absorption measurements are employed to probe the Urbach energy and defect density. Upon increasing the chalcogen content, a broadening of band tails and an increase in defect density is observed. These results are shown to be consistent with photoluminescence measurements carried out on these materials.
Part of the book: Superalloys