Midgap density of states in hydrogenated polymorphous silicon
When silicon thin films are deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition in a plasma regime close to that of the formation of powder, a new type of material, named polymorphous silicon (pm-Si:H) is obtained. pmSi:H exhibits enhanced transport properties as compared to state-of-the-art hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). The study of space-charge-limited current in n(+)-i-n(+) structures along with the use of the modulated photocurrent technique, of the constant photocurrent method and of steady-state photoconductivity and dark conductivity measurements allows us to shed some light on the origin of these improved properties. It is shown that the midgap density of states in the samples studied here is at least ten times lower than in a-Si:H, and the electron capture cross section of deep gap states is also expected to be lower by a factor of 3-4 to account for photoconductivity results. An interesting field of theoretical research is now open in order to link these low densities of states and capture cross sections to the peculiar structure of this new material. (C) 1999 American Institute of Physics. [S0021-8979(99)00914-7].