Passivation of c-Si surfaces by sub-nm amorphous silicon capped with silicon nitride

Yimao Wan, Di Yan, James Bullock, Xinyu Zhang, Andres Cuevas

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    A sub-nm hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) film capped with silicon nitride (SiNx) is shown to provide a high level passivation to crystalline silicon (c-Si) surfaces. When passivated by a 0.8 nm a-Si:H/75 nm SiNx stack, recombination current density J0 values of 9, 11, 47, and 87 fA/cm2 are obtained on 10 Ω·cm n-type, 0.8 Ω·cm p-type, 160 Ω/sq phosphorus-diffused, and 120 Ω/sq boron-diffused silicon surfaces, respectively. The J0 on n-type 10 Ω·cm wafers is further reduced to 2.5 ± 0.5 fA/cm2 when the a-Si:H film thickness exceeds 2.5 nm. The passivation by the sub-nm a-Si:H/SiNx stack is thermally stable at 400 °C in N2 for 60 min on all four c-Si surfaces. Capacitance-voltage measurements reveal a reduction in interface defect density and film charge density with an increase in a-Si:H thickness. The nearly transparent sub-nm a-Si:H/SiNx stack is thus demonstrated to be a promising surface passivation and antireflection coating suitable for all types of surfaces encountered in high efficiency c-Si solar cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number231606
    JournalApplied Physics Letters
    Issue number23
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2015


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