Hydrogen bonding and structural order in hydrogenated amorphous silicon prepared with hydrogen-diluted silane
A study of the structural development of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si : H) during plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition with hydrogen-diluted silane has been carried out with focus on the variations in the hydrogen bonding configuration and in the amorphous silicon network with increasing film thickness. In addition, the hypothesis of a high fraction of non-bonded (molecular) hydrogen in a-Si : H has been tested. The total hydrogen concentration and its silicon-bonded fraction have been estimated by means of nuclear reaction analysis and infrared spectroscopy, respectively. It has been shown that the presumable molecular hydrogen is not detectable within the limits of the measurement accuracy of the methods used. The hydrogen concentration is uniformly distributed along the growth direction, and the infrared absorption modes at 2000 and 2100 cm-1 are not affected by increasing the film thickness. Raman spectroscopy has been used to follow the variations in the structure of the silicon network. The increase in the film thickness leads to an improved ordering of the amorphous network on the short and medium range scale for films deposited at low substrate temperatures. In films deposited at high substrate temperatures, the tendency of structural improvement has been detected only on the medium range scale.