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A low thermal impact annealing process for SiO2-embedded Si nanocrystals with optimized interface quality

: Hiller, D.; Gutsch, S.; Hartel, A.M.; Löper, P.; Gebel, T.; Zacharias, M.


Journal of applied physics 115 (2014), No.13, Art. 134311, 9 pp.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()

Silicon nanocrystals (Si NCs) for 3rd generation photovoltaics or optoelectronic applications can be produced by several industrially compatible physical or chemical vapor deposition technologies. A major obstacle for the integration into a fabrication process is the typical annealing to form and crystallize these Si quantum dots (QDs) which involves temperatures ¥1100 °C for 1 h. This standard annealing procedure allows for interface qualities that correspond to more than 95% dangling bond defect free Si NCs. We study the possibilities to use rapid thermal annealing (RTA) and flash lamp annealing to crystallize the Si QDs within seconds or milliseconds at high temperatures. The Si NC interface of such samples exhibits huge dangling bond defect densities which makes them inapplicable for photovoltaics or optoelectronics. However, if the RTA high temperature annealing is combined with a medium temperature inert gas post-annealing and a H2 passivation, luminescent Si NC fractions of up to 90% can be achieved with a significantly reduced thermal load. A new figure or merit, the relative dopant diffusion length, is introduced as a measure for the impact of a Si NC annealing procedure on doping profiles of device structures.