Correlating the silicon surface passivation to the nanostructure of low-temperature a-Si:H after rapid thermal annealing

B. Macco, J. Melskens, N.J. Podraza, K. Arts, C. Pugh, O. Thomas, W.M.M. Kessels

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Abstract

Using an inductively coupled plasma, hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) films have been prepared at very low temperatures (<50 °C) to provide crystalline silicon (c-Si) surface passivation. Despite the limited nanostructural quality of the a-Si:H bulk, a surprisingly high minority carrier lifetime of ∼4 ms is demonstrated after a rapid thermal annealing treatment. Besides the excellent level of surface passivation, the main advantage of the low-temperature approach is the facile suppression of undesired epitaxial growth. The correlation between the a-Si:H nanostructure and the activation of a-Si:H/c-Si interface passivation, upon annealing, has been studied in detail. This yields a structural model that qualitatively describes the different processes that take place in the a-Si:H films during annealing. The presented experimental findings and insights can prove to be useful in the further development of very thin a-Si:H passivation layers for use in silicon heterojunction solar cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number035302
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume122
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2017

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