Aluminum oxide films can provide excellent surface passivation on both p-type and n-type surfaces of silicon wafers and solar cells. Even though radio frequency magnetron sputtering is capable of depositing aluminum oxide with concentrations of negative charges comparable to some of the other deposition methods, the surface passivation has not been as good. In this paper, we compare the composition and bonding of aluminum oxide deposited by thermal atomic layer deposition and sputtering, and find that the interfacial silicon oxide layer and hydrogen concentration can explain the differences in the surface passivation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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