10 μm minority-carrier diffusion lengths in Si wires synthesized by Cu-catalyzed vapor-liquid-solid growth

Putnam, Morgan C.; Turner-Evans, Daniel B.; Kelzenberg, Michael D.; Boettcher, Shannon W.; Lewis, Nathan S.; Atwater, Harry A.
October 2009
Applied Physics Letters;10/19/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 16, p163116
Academic Journal
The effective electron minority-carrier diffusion length, Ln,eff, for 2.0 μm diameter Si wires that were synthesized by Cu-catalyzed vapor-liquid-solid growth was measured by scanning photocurrent microscopy. In dark, ambient conditions, Ln,eff was limited by surface recombination to a value of ≤0.7 μm. However, a value of Ln,eff=10.5±1 μm was measured under broad-area illumination in low-level injection. The relatively long minority-carrier diffusion length observed under illumination is consistent with an increased surface passivation resulting from filling of the surface states of the Si wires by photogenerated carriers. These relatively large Ln,eff values have important implications for the design of high-efficiency, radial-junction photovoltaic cells from arrays of Si wires synthesized by metal-catalyzed growth processes.


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