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Atomistic simulations of the silicon surface structure at the interface of silver thick film contacts on n-type silicon

: Kontermann, S.; Ruf, A.; Preu, R.


Tsakalakos, L. ; Materials Research Society -MRS-:
Advanced materials processing for scalable solar-cell manufacturing : Symposium held April 25 - 29, 2011, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.; Symposium C, "Advanced Materials Processing for Scalable Solar Cell Manufacturing" at the 2011 MRS spring meeting
New York/NY: Cambridge University Press, 2012 (Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 1323)
ISBN: 978-1-605-11300-5
ISSN: 0272-9172
Symposium C "Advanced Materials Processing for Scalable Solar Cell Manufacturing" <2011, San Francisco/Calif.>
Materials Research Society (Spring Meeting) <2011, San Francisco/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPM ()
Fraunhofer ISE ()
PV Produktionstechnologie und Qualitätssicherung; Silicium-Photovoltaik; Industrielle und neuartige Solarzellenstrukturen

Nanoscale silver crystals at the interface of silver thick film contacts on n-type silicon carry the current across the contact and therefore control the contact resistance, which is a main performance limiting parameter for semiconductor devices. The silver crystals are located in pits at the silicon surface. The shape of the pits is different on Si-(111) and Si-(100). During contact formation, these pits form before the silver crystals. Hence they determine the crystal size and shape. Consequently, the pits with the crystals influence the contact resistance. We investigate these pits experimentally by scanning electron microscopy. We are the first to simulate the mechanism of pit formation at a contact interface by considering a model that is based on the removal probability of silicon surface atoms. This model leads to good agreement between experimental and simulated data. It enables the prediction of pit formation for arbitrary process parameters like temperature and duration for silver thick film contact formation on silicon.