Thermal activation energy for the passivation of the n-type crystalline silicon surface by hydrogenated amorphous silicon

Mitchell, Jonathon; Macdonald, Daniel; Cuevas, Andres
April 2009
Applied Physics Letters;4/20/2009, Vol. 94 Issue 16, p162102
Academic Journal
Excellent surface passivation of crystalline silicon wafers is known to occur following post-deposition thermal annealing of intrinsic a-Si:H thin-film layers deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. In this work, layer thicknesses ranging from 5 to 50 nm were used to indirectly study the surface passivation mechanism by sequentially measuring the effective carrier lifetime as a function of annealing time and temperature. From this, an activation energy of 0.7±0.1 eV was calculated, suggesting that surface passivation is reaction-limited and not determined by a bulk hydrogen diffusion process. We conclude that the primary surface reaction stems from surface rearrangement of hydrogen already near the interface.


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