The breakdown mechanism of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) has been investigated. It has been shown that the acceptance of the surface potential of an a-Si:H photoreceptor is very sensitive to the micro-roughness of the substrate surface. This is because the junction between the metal substrate (usually aluminum) and the blocking layer (p+ or n+ a-Si:H) is strongly affected by the micro-roughness of the substrate surface. A model is proposed to expound this phenomenon, which indicates that the existence of micro- defects on the substrate surface results in the bending of the metal-semiconductor junction at these defect positions; that is, the original parallel plane junction changes into a spherical abrupt junction. Compared to the former, the curved junction has a lower breakdown voltage, therefore, it will more easily break down at these defect positions during charging. An a-Si:H photoreceptor was prepared on the drum substrate half covered with a thin aluminum film to confirm the model. The experiment result was qualitatively in agreement with the analysis mentioned above. In addition, the effects of PVD-like deposition processes (e.g., high power or high argon diluted silane deposition) on the microstructure and breakdown of a-Si:H photoreceptors are reviewed.
"Breakdown analysis of multilayer amorphous silicon photoreceptors", Proc. SPIE 1912, Color Hard Copy and Graphic Arts II, (18 June 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.146265; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.146265