Low-temperature, nontoxic water-induced high-k zirconium oxide dielectrics for low-voltage, high-performance oxide thin-film transistors
The fabrication of water-induced amorphous high-k zirconium oxide (ZrOx) dielectrics has been proposed with the objective of achieving high performance and reducing costs for next generation displays. In this study, the as-prepared ZrOx thin films were fabricated by a sequential process, including a UV-assisted photochemical treatment and a thermal annealing process at temperatures lower than 300 °C. It is observed that the leakage current density of ZrOx thin films decreases, and the capacitance increases with increasing annealing temperatures. To verify the application possibilities of ZrOx thin films as gate dielectrics in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) electronics, both n-type In2O3 and p-type NiOx channel layers were integrated with ZrOx dielectrics and their corresponding electrical performances were examined. The In2O3/ZrOx thin film transistor (TFT) annealed at 250 °C exhibited a high electron mobility of 10.78 cm2 V−1 s−1, a small subthreshold swing of 75 mV dec−1, and a large on–off current ratio (Ion/Ioff) of around 106, respectively. Moreover, the p-type NiOx/ZrOx TFT exhibited an Ion/Ioff of 105 and a hole mobility of 4.8 cm2 V−1 s−1. It is noted that both n- and p-channel oxide TFTs on ZrOx could be operated at voltages lower than 4 V. The low-temperature fabrication process marks a great step towards the further development of low-cost, all-oxide CMOS electronics on flexible substrates.