Unveiling the power of thin films: Revolutionising semi-conductor technology for smarter future

By Cajetan Mmuta


Semi-conductors have fundamentally transformed the world, powering advancements in electronics, automotive technology, medical equipment, security systems, and numerous other smart devices.
One of the critical components in the fabrication of semiconductor devices is the thin film.

These films are integral to a wide array of industrial applications, including solar cells, transistors, sensors, LEDs, contact metallisation, and more. Their role is indispensable in ensuring the efficiency and functionality of modern electronic devices.

Thin films are composed of one or more layers and play a pivotal role in semiconductor device fabrication.

We found out that a Nigerian, Onivefu Asishana, who is a researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware, is making significant strides in this field. His work focuses on the passivation of thin films to reduce surface recombination, improved chemical and environmental stability, and enhanced electrical properties, all of which contribute to more efficient, durable, and reliable semiconductor devices.

One of the most promising applications of thin-film semiconductors is in the production of photovoltaic cells, which convert light energy into electrical energy.

Thin-film semiconductors are particularly suited for this purpose because they absorb light more efficiently, leading to better energy conversion rates.

This efficiency is vital for the advancement of renewable energy technologies, making solar power more accessible and effective.

In semiconductor research and manufacturing, thin films can be characterized through various advanced techniques.

These include indentation-related applications, which investigate the residual stress index, dielectric constant, and indentation-induced delamination. Scratch-related applications measure scratch-induced delamination and the direct push of micro bumps from sidewalls.

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High-temperature applications study adhesion, glass transition temperature, and the coefficient of thermal expansion. These characterizations help in understanding the mechanical properties and stability of thin films under different conditions.

The deposition of thin films is a complex process involving several technologies. Some of the common deposition methods used in semiconductor manufacturing are Low-Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (LPCVD), Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD), Sub-Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (SACVD), Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (APCVD), Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD), Ultra-High Vacuum Chemical Vapour Deposition (UHV-CVD), Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC), Commercial Film (C-F), and Epitaxial Deposition (Epi).

Each method has its unique advantages and is chosen based on the specific requirements of the semiconductor device being manufactured.

Asishana’s research specifically utilises Low-Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (LPCVD) to deposit thin films on semiconductor surfaces.

Additionally, he is exploring a novel method that employs gas-phase organic solvents and medium vacuum pressure for the passivation of thin film surfaces. This innovative approach aims to improve the quality and reliability of semiconductors.

The implications of Asishana’s work are significant. By enhancing the passivation techniques and optimising thin film deposition processes, his research could lead to the production of higher-quality semiconductors.

These advancements promise to support the semiconductor industry in achieving greater precision, efficiency, and performance, ultimately benefiting various technological fields and contributing to the development of more sophisticated and reliable electronic devices.

In conclusion, the ongoing research and development in thin-film semiconductors are vital for the continued progress of modern technology.

With dedicated researchers like Asishana leading the charge, the future of semiconductor devices looks promising, paving the way for innovations that will drive the next generation of electronic and industrial advancements.

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