Optically Transparent Flexible IGZO TFTs Fabricated with a Selective Wet-Etch Process

Wednesday, 27 May 2015: 08:30
Conference Room 4C (Hilton Chicago)
A. Tari, C. H. Lee, and W. S. Wong (University of Waterloo)
The emerging transparent thin-film transistor (TFTs) technology has recently received great attention in the active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) flexible displays. This TFT technology also has the potential to enable enhanced functionality in conventional large-area electronics applications ranging from smart windows and heads-up displays to flexible sensor arrays. During the past few years, amorphous transition-metal oxides have been suggested to be one of the best candidates in this application. Amorphous InGaZnO (IGZO) TFTs are the most promising transparent-metal oxide semiconductor due to its high optical transparency and field-effect mobility (μFE) in TFT devices compared to conventional amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). The amorphous structure is more suitable for large-area processes than other polycrystalline metal-oxide TFTs. These unique advantages have resulted in the rapid development of IGZO TFT technology. Given the relatively poor selectivity to common semiconductor etchants, IGZO TFTs are typically fabricated using lift-off processes to define the electrical contacts. However, the success of the emerging transition-metal oxide materials system for flexible electronics requires compatibility with conventional TFT microfabrication manufacturing processes.

Flexible IGZO TFTs having 85% optical transparency in the visible regime were fabricated on polyethylene napthalate substrates using a selective wet etching process to eliminate the need for lift-off processing. The devices were processed directly onto the plastic platform at a maximum temperature of 150°C. The TFT structure consisted of a sputtered 100 nm aluminum doped zinc oxide (AZO) gate electrode, a 300nm SiNx gate dielectric deposited using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) method at 150ºC, and a 50nm IGZO layer deposited using RF sputtering at room temperature. A 150 nm AZO source/drain (S/D) electrodes were deposited by using RF sputtering at 150ºC and patterned wet etching process in diluted HCl solution having a selectivity of 11 between AZO and IGZO. The channel width and length of the studied TFTs were 200 and 100 µm, respectively.

The fabricated TFTs exhibited a field-effect mobility of ~10 cm2/V.sec, threshold voltage of ~5.0 V, a sub-threshold swing of 0.8 V/decade, and an Ion/Ioff ratio of 107. No current crowding behavior was observed for the TFTs at the low drain-source voltage (VD) regime. The I-V characteristics showed excellent ohmic contacts can be fabricated using AZO S/D electrodes through a wet etching process and promises a more conventional approach to large-area flexible electronics fabrication. The highly selective etching process provides a means to fabricate IGZO based circuits with low processing complexity that will enable system-on-“plastic” integration of flexible transparent flexible displays. In addition, the effect of long-term electrical bias on the electrical stability of the devices will also be presented.