This report describes work being performed to provide details of
the microstructure in high-quality hydrogenated amorphous and
microcrystalline silicon and related alloys on the nanometer size
scale. The materials under study are being prepared by current
state-of-the-art deposition methods, as well as by new and emerging
deposition techniques. The purpose is to establish the role of
nanostructural features in controlling the opto-electronic and
photovoltaic properties. The approach centers around the use of the
uncommon technique of small-angle scattering of both X-rays (SAXS)
and neutrons (SANS). SAXS has already been established as highly
sensitive to microvoids and columnar-like microstructure. A major
goal of this research is to establish how sensitive SANS is to the
hydrogen nanostructure. Conventional X-ray diffraction techniques
are being used to examine medium-range order and
microcrystallinity, particularly near the boundary between
amorphous and microcrystalline material.
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