Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Comparison of Wet and Dry Etching of Zinc Indium Oxide for Thin Film Transistors with an Inverted Gate Structure

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


Not only are amorphous oxide semiconductor thin film transistors(TFTs) extremely sensitive to the processing of the active layer, but subsequent layer processing can also impact the performance. Due to this sensitivity, many surface treatments and passivation techniques for the active layer have been developed, but the influence of the etching of the active layer itself has not been explored extensively. These etch steps are especially critical in the manufacture of flexible microelectronics, for which process conditions are inherently limited by thermal stability of the plastic (<200 °C) and incompatibility of the plastic substrate with highly oxidizing chemical environments. Here, a novel dry etch process is compared to typical wet etch process in the context of flexible zinc indium oxide TFT array fabrication on plastic. The dry etch process provides superior control of the sidewall profile and the etch selectivity. These improvements using a dry etch approach decrease the off current of the TFT by 3 orders of magnitude from 2.65 nA for the wet etch process to 0.71 pA using the dry etch with a concurrent improvement in the device yield to 100% (for 120 transistors) with the dry etch. Additionally, the subthreshold slope improves from 1.9 to 1.0 V/decade, while the saturation mobility (6.5 cm2/V s) is not impacted by the etch process.



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