Nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si) thin-film transistors (TFTs) fabricated at a maximum processing temperature of 250 $^{circ}hbox{C}$ operate with high field-effect mobility compared with amorphous-silicon TFTs. By reducing the oxygen content in the channel layer, ambipolar behavior can be obtained. Two levels of electron-beam lithography are employed to fabricate nc-Si TFTs with nanoscale dimensions that operate without significant short-channel effects for gate lengths down to 200 nm. The TFTs have current–voltage ($I$–$V$) characteristics with on–off ratio $> hbox{10}^{5}$ at $pm$1 V drain voltage and low threshold voltage shift. Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) software is used to model the TFTs, and it is validated by performing the fit to devices of different dimensions. An inverter constituent of nc-Si TFTs offers high voltage gain (10–12) and frequency response better than 2 MHz. The crowbar current associated with the inverter can be minimized by using an optimized geometry ratio based on the leakage currents of the TFTs. An amplifier circuit is also demonstrated, offering an ac gain in the frequency range of 100 Hz–10 kHz. SPICE simulations of the inverter and amplifier show close agreement with measured data. The fabricated devices are well suited for use in high-density architectures.

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