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

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3 Author(s)
Mitchell, Jonathon ; School of Engineering, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200, Australia ; Macdonald, D. ; Cuevas, A.

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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.

Published in:

Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:94 ,  Issue: 16 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 2009

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