Indium-gallium-zinc oxide (IGZO) and zinc-tin oxide (ZTO) are investigated for thin-film transistor (TFT) applications. Negative bias illumination stress (NBIS) is employed for electrical stability assessment. Unpassivated IGZO and ZTO TFTs
suffer from severe NBIS instabilities. Zinc-tin-silicon oxide is found to be an effective passivation layer for IGZO and ZTO TFTs, significantly improving the NBIS stability. NBIS instabilities in unpassivated TFTs are attributed to an NBIS-induced
desorption of chemisorbed oxygen from the channel layer top surface, exposing surface oxygen vacancies. A ZTSO layer protects the channel layer top surface from adsorbed gas interactions and also appears to reduce the density of oxygen vacancies. The best device architectures investigated with respect to TFT electrical performance are found to be staggered with aluminum electrodes for unpassivated TFTs and coplanar with ITO electrodes for ZTSO-passivated TFTs. Annealing in wet-O₂ is not found to be effective for improving the performance of IGZO or ZTO TFTs or for reducing the post-deposition annealing temperature.