Improved silicon surface passivation of APCVD Al2O3 by rapid thermal annealing

L.E. Black, T. Allen, K.R. McIntosh, A. Cuévas

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Short-duration post-deposition thermal treatments at temperatures above those normally used for annealing activation have the potential to further improve the already excellent passivation of crystalline silicon (c-Si) achieved by Al2O3, but have so far received little attention. In this work we investigate the influence of rapid thermal annealing (RTA) on the surface passivation of c-Si by Al2O3 deposited by atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) as a function of RTA peak temperature between 500 and 900 °C, and for Al2O3 deposition temperatures between 325 and 440 °C. The saturation current density J0 of undiffused p-type surfaces is observed either to increase or decrease following RTA depending on the Al2O3 deposition temperature and the RTA peak temperature. The optimum deposition temperature depends on the post-deposition thermal processing to be applied. Films deposited at lower temperatures provide worse passivation after low temperature heat treatment, but maintain this passivation better at higher RTA temperatures. An exceptionally low J0 of 7 fA cm-2, due to the combination of a very low interface state density Dit and unusually high negative fixed charge density Qf, is achieved by the use of a short 500-550 °C RTA combined with optimised deposition conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-325
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Procedia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • aluminium oxide
  • chemical vapour deposition
  • crystalline silicon
  • rapid thermal annealing
  • surface passivation


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