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Extremely low surface recombination velocities on low-resistivity n-type and p-type crystalline silicon using dynamically deposited remote plasma silicon nitride films



Extremely low upper-limit effective surface recombination velocities (Seff.max) of 5.6 and 7.4 cm/s, respectively, are obtained on ~1.5 Ω cm n-type and p-type silicon wafers, using silicon nitride (SiNx) films dynamically deposited in an industrial inline plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) reactor. SiNx films with optimised antireflective properties in air provide an excellent Seff.max of 9.5 cm/s after high-temperature (>800 °C) industrial firing. Such low Seff.max values were previously only attainable for SiNx films deposited statically in laboratory reactors or after optimised annealing; however, in our case, the SiNx films were dynamically deposited onto large-area c-Si wafers using a fully industrial reactor and provide excellent surface passivation results both in the as-deposited condition and after industrial-firing, which is a widely used process in the photovoltaic industry. Contactless corona-voltage measurements reveal that these SiNx films contain a relatively high positive charge of (4–8) × 1012 cm−2 combined with a relatively low interface defect density of ~5 × 1011 eV−1 cm−2. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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