A detailed description of the microscopic nature of electronic conduction in mixed-phase silicon thin films near the amorphous/nanocrystalline transition is presented. A conduction model utilizing both the conductivity and the reduced activation energy data, involving the parallel contributions of three distinct conduction mechanisms, is shown to describe the data to a high accuracy, providing a clear link between measurement and theory in these complex materials.
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We gratefully acknowledge fruitful discussions with Boris Shklovskii and David Emin. This work was partially supported by NSF grant DMR-0705675, the NINN Characterization Facility, the Nanofabrication Center, an Xcel Energy grant under RDF Contract #RD3-25, NREL Sub-Contract XEA-9-99012-01, and the University of Minnesota. L.R.W. acknowledges support from a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship provided by the University of Minnesota and T.H. acknowledges support from NSF-0851820.