A new technique is proposed for the activation of low temperature amorphous InGaZnO thin film transistor (a-IGZO TFT) backplanes through application of a bias voltage and annealing at 130 °C simultaneously. In this 'electrical activation', the effects of annealing under bias are selectively focused in the channel region. Therefore, electrical activation can be an effective method for lower backplane processing temperatures from 280 °C to 130 °C. Devices fabricated with this method exhibit equivalent electrical properties to those of conventionally-fabricated samples. These results are analyzed electrically and thermodynamically using infrared microthermography. Various bias voltages are applied to the gate, source, and drain electrodes while samples are annealed at 130 °C for 1 hour. Without conventional high temperature annealing or electrical activation, current-voltage curves do not show transfer characteristics. However, electrically activated a-IGZO TFTs show superior electrical characteristics, comparable to the reference TFTs annealed at 280 °C for 1 hour. This effect is a result of the lower activation energy, and efficient transfer of electrical and thermal energy to a-IGZO TFTs. With this approach, superior low-temperature a-IGZO TFTs are fabricated successfully.
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