Zno Thin Film Electronics For More Than Displays

Open Access
Ramirez, Jose Israel
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
July 03, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Thomas Nelson Jackson, Dissertation Advisor
  • Suman Datta, Committee Member
  • Susan E Trolier Mckinstry, Committee Member
  • Mark William Horn, Committee Member
  • zno
  • thin film transistors (TFT)
  • large-area electronics
  • radiation-hard ZnO TFTs
  • integration of ZnO electronics with PZT films
Zinc oxide thin film transistors (TFTs) are investigated in this work for large-area electronic applications outside of display technology. A constant pressure, constant flow, showerhead, plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) process has been developed to fabricate high mobility TFTs and circuits on rigid and flexible substrates at 200 °C. ZnO films and resulting devices prepared by PEALD and pulsed laser deposition (PLD) have been compared. Both PEALD and PLD ZnO films result in densely packed, polycrystalline ZnO thin films that were used to make high performance devices. PEALD ZnO TFTs deposited at 300 °C have a field-effect mobility of ~ 40 cm2/V-s (and > 20 cm2/V-S deposited at 200 °C). PLD ZnO TFTs, annealed at 400 °C, have a field-effect mobility of > 60 cm2/V-s (and up to 100 cm2/V-s). Devices, prepared by either technique, show high gamma-ray radiation tolerance of up to 100 Mrad(SiO2) with only a small radiation-induced threshold voltage shift (VT ~ -1.5 V). Electrical biasing during irradiation showed no enhanced radiation-induced effects. The study of the radiation effects as a function of material stack thicknesses revealed the majority of the radiation-induced charge collection happens at the semiconductor-passivation interface. A simple sheet-charge model at that interface can describe the radiation-induced charge in ZnO TFTs. By taking advantage of the substrate-agnostic process provided by PEALD, due to its low-temperature and excellent conformal coatings, ZnO electronics were monolithically integrated with thin-film complex oxides. Application-based examples where ZnO electronics provide added functionality to complex oxide-based devices are presented. In particular, the integration of arrayed lead zirconate titanate (Pb(Zr, Ti)O3 or PZT) thin films with ZnO electronics for microelectromechanical systems (MEMs) and deformable mirrors is demonstrated. ZnO switches can provide voltage to PZT capacitors with fast charging and slow discharging time constants. Finally, to circumvent fabrication challenges on predetermined complex shapes, like curved mirror optics, a technique to transfer electronics from a rigid substrate to a flexible substrate is used. This technique allows various thin films, regardless of their deposition temperature, to be transferred to flexible substrates. Finally, ultra-low power operation of ZnO TFT gas sensors was demonstrated. The ZnO ozone sensors were optimized to operate with excellent electrical stability in ambient conditions, without using elevated temperatures, while still providing good gas sensitivity. This was achieved by using a post-deposition anneal and by partially passivating the contact regions while leaving the semiconductor sensing area open to the ambient. A novel technique to reset the gas sensor using periodic pulsing of a UV light over the sensor results in less than 25 milliseconds recovery time. A pathway to achieve gas selectivity by using organic thin-film layers as filters deposited over the gas sensors tis demonstrated. The ZnO ozone sensor TFTs and the UV light operate at room temperature with an average power below 1 µW.