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Zirconium oxide surface passivation of crystalline silicon

  • Author(s): Wan, Y;
  • Bullock, J;
  • Hettick, M;
  • Xu, Z;
  • Yan, D;
  • Peng, J;
  • Javey, A;
  • Cuevas, A
  • et al.

Published Web Location

This letter reports effective passivation of crystalline silicon (c-Si) surfaces by thermal atomic layer deposited zirconium oxide (ZrOx). The optimum layer thickness and activation annealing conditions are determined to be 20 nm and 300 °C for 20 min. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy imaging shows an approximately 1.6 nm thick SiOx interfacial layer underneath an 18 nm ZrOx layer, consistent with ellipsometry measurements (∼20 nm). Capacitance-voltage measurements show that the annealed ZrOx film features a low interface defect density of 1.0 × 1011 cm-2eV-1 and a low negative film charge density of -6 × 1010 cm-2. Effective lifetimes of 673 μs and 1.1 ms are achieved on p-type and n-type 1 Ω cm undiffused c-Si wafers, respectively, corresponding to an implied open circuit voltage above 720 mV in both cases. The results demonstrate that surface passivation quality provided by ALD ZrOx is consistent with the requirements of high efficiency silicon solar cells.

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