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Journal ArticleDOI

Influence of surface preparation and cleaning on the passivation of boron diffused silicon surfaces for high efficiency photovoltaics

TL;DR: In this paper, the influence of surface cleaning on the quality of surface passivation achievable for boron-doped emitters was investigated, including the use of different combinations of HCl, HF, HNO3, and ozonated deionized water (DIO3).
About: This article is published in Thin Solid Films.The article was published on 2017-08-31. It has received 10 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Passivation & Silicon nitride.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated the effectiveness of crystalline silicon surface cleaning by a simple UV-ozone process in comparison to the industry standard RCA clean for silicon photovoltaic applications.

21 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this study, the thermal stability of a contact structure featuring hole-selective tungsten oxide and aluminum deposited onto p-type crystalline silicon was investigated using a combination of transmission line measurements (TLM) and in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies.
Abstract: In this study, the thermal stability of a contact structure featuring hole-selective tungsten oxide (WOx) and aluminum deposited onto p-type crystalline silicon (c-Si/WOx/Al) was investigated using a combination of transmission line measurements (TLM) and in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies. The TEM images provide insight into why the charge carrier transport and recombination characteristics change as a function of temperature, particularly as the samples are annealed at temperatures above 500 °C. In the as-deposited state, a ≈ 2 nm silicon oxide (SiOx) interlayer forms at the c-Si/WOx interface and a ≈ 2-3 nm aluminum oxide (AlOx) interlayer at the WOx/Al interface. When annealing above 500 °C, Al diffusion begins, and above 600 °C complete intermixing of the SiOx, WOx, AlOx and Al layers occurs. This results in a large drop in the contact resistivity, but is the likely reason surface recombination increases at these high temperatures, since a c-Si/Al contact is basically being formed. This work provides some fundamental insight that can help in the development of WOx films as hole-selective rear contacts for p-type solar cells. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that in situ TEM can provide valuable information about thermal stability of transition metal oxides functioning as carrier-selective contacts in silicon solar cells.

17 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the root cause of variation in surface recombination for Si wafers after different cleaning processes and for different passivation layers was investigated using a combination of calibrated photoluminescence (PL) imaging and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Abstract: In this work, the root cause of variation in surface recombination for Si wafers after different cleaning processes and for different passivation layers is investigated using a combination of calibrated photoluminescence (PL) imaging and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The use of a HF-last or oxide-last cleaning and/or conditioning process is shown to have a strong impact on surface recombination for SiNx passivated surfaces, but little impact for Al2O3/SiNx stacks. For a SiNx passivation layer, cross-sectional TEM imaging revealed the formation of a ≈1–2 nm SiOx interlayer resulting from a controlled oxidation during the last cleaning/conditioning step. The presence of the SiOx layer reduces the interface defect density (Dit,midgap) by an order of magnitude and dramatically increases the effective carrier lifetime. However, for Al2O3/SiNx passivated surfaces, TEM studies revealed that a SiOx layer is formed at the interface between the c-Si and AlOx even for cleaning processes ending with HF-last treatment due to which the cleaning sequence has minimal impact on the effective carrier lifetime.

12 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The state-of-the-art surface passivation of c-Si solar cells is achieved by Al2O3 films prepared by plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition, yielding effective surface recombination velocities of 2 and 13cm∕s on low resistivity n- and p-type cSi, respectively as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Excellent surface passivation of c-Si has been achieved by Al2O3 films prepared by plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition, yielding effective surface recombination velocities of 2 and 13cm∕s on low resistivity n- and p-type c-Si, respectively. These results obtained for ∼30nm thick Al2O3 films are comparable to state-of-the-art results when employing thermal oxide as used in record-efficiency c-Si solar cells. A 7nm thin Al2O3 film still yields an effective surface recombination velocity of 5cm∕s on n-type silicon.

697 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, aluminum oxide (Al2O3) nanolayers synthesized by atomic layer deposition (ALD) have been used for the passivation of p-and n-type crystalline Si (c-Si) surfaces.
Abstract: The reduction in electronic recombination losses by the passivation of silicon surfaces is a critical enabler for high-efficiency solar cells. In 2006, aluminum oxide (Al2O3) nanolayers synthesized by atomic layer deposition (ALD) emerged as a novel solution for the passivation of p- and n-type crystalline Si (c-Si) surfaces. Today, high efficiencies have been realized by the implementation of ultrathin Al2O3 films in laboratory-type and industrial solar cells. This article reviews and summarizes recent work concerning Al2O3 thin films in the context of Si photovoltaics. Topics range from fundamental aspects related to material, interface, and passivation properties to synthesis methods and the implementation of the films in solar cells. Al2O3 uniquely features a combination of field-effect passivation by negative fixed charges, a low interface defect density, an adequate stability during processing, and the ability to use ultrathin films down to a few nanometers in thickness. Although various methods can be used to synthesize Al2O3, this review focuses on ALD—a new technology in the field of c-Si photovoltaics. The authors discuss how the unique features of ALD can be exploited for interface engineering and tailoring the properties of nanolayer surface passivation schemes while also addressing its compatibility with high-throughput manufacturing. The recent progress achieved in the field of surface passivation allows for higher efficiencies of industrial solar cells, which is critical for realizing lower-cost solar electricity in the near future.

684 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the level of surface passivation in thin Al2O3 films was determined by techniques based on photoconductance, photoluminescence, and infrared emission.
Abstract: Thin Al2O3 films with a thickness of 7–30 nm synthesized by plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (ALD) were used for surface passivation of crystalline silicon (c-Si) of different doping concentrations. The level of surface passivation in this study was determined by techniques based on photoconductance, photoluminescence, and infrared emission. Effective surface recombination velocities of 2 and 6 cm/s were obtained on 1.9 Ω cm n-type and 2.0 Ω cm p-type c-Si, respectively. An effective surface recombination velocity below 1 cm/s was unambiguously obtained for nearly intrinsic c-Si passivated by Al2O3. A high density of negative fixed charges was detected in the Al2O3 films and its impact on the level of surface passivation was demonstrated experimentally. The negative fixed charge density results in a flat injection level dependence of the effective lifetime on p-type c-Si and explains the excellent passivation of highly B-doped c-Si by Al2O3. Furthermore, a brief comparison is presented between the ...

449 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present an overview on the present status of SiN for industrial as well as laboratory-type c-Si solar cells, including the fundamental properties of Si-Si interfaces fabricated by PECVD.

411 citations