Abstract

This paper presents the following recent investigations of transparent amorphous-oxide semiconductors (TAOS) from materials to devices and circuits. 1) Composition of metals in TAOS are widely explored with the aim of seeking semiconductors suitable for the channel layers of thin-film transistors (TFTs) composing backplanes for flat-panel displays. It is found in combinatorial approaches to the materials exploration that indium-based ternary TAOS (In-<i>X</i>-O) and their TFTs show the properties and the performance as good as those of the most popular material of amorphous In-Ga-Zn-O (<i>a</i>-IGZO) when <i>X</i>=Zn or Ge. 2) Defects and impurities in TAOS are investigated by theoretical approaches. The first-principle calculation of the electron states reveals that charge-neutral oxygen vacancy or interstitial forms the density of states around mid-gap level and does not generate carriers directly, while hydrogen impurity raises the Fermi level beyond the conduction-band minimum and acts as a donor in TAOS. 3) Device structures of TAOS-TFTs are also investigated extensively for better performance and stability. It is found in channel-etch type TFTs with bottom-gate inverse-stagger structures that the TFT characteristics and stability are significantly improved by chemically removing the back-channel layer in a wet-etching process. Coplanar homojunction (CH) structure is proposed as a novel device structure where conductive <i>a</i>-IGZO regions work as the source and drain electrodes to the channel region of semiconductor <i>a</i>-IGZO. The CH TFTs show excellent characteristics and stability, with low series resistance without any difficulty in making good electrical contact between metals and TAOS. 4) Circuits using TAOS-TFTs are demonstrated. A ring oscillator composed of fifteen-stage inverters with a buffer circuit operates as designed by circuit simulation with a TFT model for hydrogenated amorphous Si TFTs. Pixel circuits composed of three TFTs and one transparent capacitor successfully drive organic light-emission diode cells without a planarization layer on a 2-in diagonal panel having 176x144x3 pixels.

© 2009 IEEE

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