DOI: 10.3390/solar4010007 ISSN: 2673-9941

Development of n-Type, Passivating Nanocrystalline Silicon Oxide Films via Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition

Gurleen Kaur, Antonio J. Olivares, Pere Roca i Cabarrocas
  • General Medicine

Nanocrystalline silicon oxide (nc-SiOx:H) is a multipurpose material with varied applications in solar cells as a transparent front contact, intermediate reflector, back reflector layer, and even tunnel layer for passivating contacts, owing to the easy tailoring of its optical properties. In this work, we systematically investigate the influence of the gas mixture (SiH4, CO2, PH3, and H2), RF power, and process pressure on the optical, structural, and passivation properties of thin n-type nc-SiOx:H films prepared in an industrial, high-throughput, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) reactor. We provide a detailed description of the n-type nc-SiOx:H material development using various structural and optical characterization techniques (scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), Raman spectroscopy, and spectroscopic ellipsometry) with a focus on the relationship between the material properties and the passivation they provide to n-type c-Si wafers characterized by their effective carrier lifetime (τeff). Furthermore, we also outline the parameters to be kept in mind while developing different n-type nc-SiOx:H layers for different solar cell applications. We report a tunable optical gap (1.8–2.3 eV) for our n-type nc-SiOx:H films as well as excellent passivation properties with a τeff of up to 4.1 ms (implied open-circuit voltage (iVoc)~715 mV) before annealing. Oxygen content plays an important role in determining the crystallinity and hence passivation quality of the deposited nanocrystalline silicon oxide films.

More from our Archive