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The use of a-IGZO instead of the conventional high-k dielectrics as a pH sensitive layer could lead to the simplification of fabrication steps of field effect based devices. In this work, the pH sensitivities of a-IGZO films directly deposited over a SiO2/Si surface were studied utilizing electrolyte-insulator-semiconductor (EIS) structures. Annealing of the films was found to affect the sensitivity of the devices and the device with the film annealed at 400 oC in N2 ambience showed the better sensitivity, which reduced with further increase in the annealing temperature to 500 oC. The increased pH sensitivity with the film annealed at 400 oC in N2 gas was attributed to the enhanced lattice oxygen ions (based on the XPS data) and improved C-V characteristics, while the decrease in sensitivity at an increased annealing temperature of 500 oC was attributed to defects in the films as well as the induced traps at the IGZO/SiO2 interface based on the stretched accumulation and the peak in the inversion region of C-V curves. This study could help to develop a sensor where the material (a-IGZO here) used as the active layer in a thin film transistors (TFTs) possibly could also be used as the pH sensitive layer without affecting the TFT characteristics, and thus obviating the need of high-K dielectrics for sensitivity enhancement.


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