Fabrication techniques and process integration considerations for amorphous oxide semiconductor (AOS) thin-film transistors (TFTs) constitute the central theme of this dissertation. Within this theme three primary areas of focus are pursued.
The first focus involves formulating a general framework for assessing passivation. Avoiding formation of an undesirable backside accumulation layer in an AOS bottom-gate TFT is accomplished by (i) choosing a passivation layer in which the charge neutrality level is aligned with (ideal case) or higher in energy than that of the semiconductor channel layer charge neutrality level, and (ii) depositing the passivation
layer in such a manner that a negligible density of oxygen vacancies are present at the channel-passivation layer interface. Two AOS TFT passivation schemes are explored. Sputter-deposited zinc tin silicon oxide (ZTSO) appears promising for suppressing
the effects of negative bias illumination stress (NBIS) with respect to ZTO and IGZO TFTs. Solution-deposited silicon dioxide is used as a barrier layer to subsequent PECVD silicon dioxide deposition, yielding ZTO TFT transfer curves showing that the dual-layer passivation process does not significantly alter ZTO TFT
The second focus involves creating an adaptable back-end process compatible with flexible substrates. A detailed list of possible via formation techniques is presented with particular focus on non-traditional and adaptable techniques. Two of the
discussed methods, "hydrophobic surface treatment" and "printed local insulator," are demonstrated and proven effective.
The third focus is printing AOS TFT channel layers in order to create an adaptable and additive front-end integrated circuit fabrication scheme. Printed zinc indium aluminum oxide (ZIAO) and indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) channel layers are demonstrated using a SonoPlot piezoelectric printing system.
Finally, challenges associated with printing electronic materials are discussed. Organic-based solutions are easier to print due to their ability to "stick" to the substrate and form well-defined patterns, but have poor electrical characteristics due
to the weakness of organic bonds. Inorganic aqueous-based solutions demonstrate good electrical performance when deposited by spin coating, but are difficult to print because precise control of a substrate's hydrophillic/hydrophobic nature is required. However, precise control is difficult to achieve, since aqueous-based solutions either spread out or ball up on the substrate surface. Thickness control of any printed solution
is always problematic due to surface wetting and the elliptical thickness profile of a dispensed solution.