Short-range order in amorphous carbon thin films containing silicon and hydrogen (Si-aC:H) was characterized using radial distribution functions (RDFs). RDFs describe the average number of neighbors located a distance r away from an arbitrary atom in the sample. Two methods in the transmission electron microscope (TEM) were used in this study to obtain RDFs: energy-filtered convergent-beam electron diffraction (EFCBED) and extended electron energy-loss fine structure (EXELFS) analyses. Four Si-aC:H film samples were prepared in cross section for TEM using a focused ion beam system. Both EFCBED and EXELFS techniques were used to study the same samples. RDF interpretation included estimation and comparison of near-neighbor distances, average bond angles, and coordination numbers as a function of sample composition. Key RDF characteristics were correlated to thin film material properties.

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