Microcrystalline silicon films have been prepared on indium-coated glass utilizing a layer-by-layer technique with a plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor deposition system. The microcrystalline films were fabricated by varying the number of cycles from 10 to 60 under a fixed H2 time (t2) of 120 s, where the corresponding deposition time (t1) of amorphous silicon thin film was 60 s. Structural properties, such as the crystalline volume fraction (Xc) and grain sizes were analyzed by using Raman spectroscopy and a scanning electron microscopy. The carrier transport was characterized by the temperature dependence of dark conductivity, giving rise to the calculation of activation energy (Ea). Optical energy gaps (Eg) were also investigated using an ultraviolet spectrophotometer. In addition, the process under different hydrogen plasma time (t2) at a fixed number of 20 cycles was extensively carried out to study the dominant role of hydrogen atoms in layer-by-layer deposition. Finally, the correlation between structural and electrical properties has been discussed on the basis of experimental results. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.