Insitu ellipsometry experiments have been used to probe the structural changes that occur in the initial stages of the growth of microcrystalline silicon ( μc‐Si) on single‐crystal Si substrates. The initial nucleation of μc‐Si appears to occur at well‐dispersed sites and ∼100 Å of material with significantly different optical properties than the bulk is buried at the film/substrate interface. The different optical structure of this interface layer is attributed to voids which are trapped when crystalline nuclei merge. These results are contrasted with recent data for hydrogenated amorphous silicon which show that nuclei converge after about 50 Å, leaving material with bulklike optical properties at the substrate interface.

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