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Characterization of grain boundaries in multicrystalline silicon with high lateral resolution using conductive atomic force microscopy

: Rumler, Maximilian; Rommel, Mathias; Erlekampf, Jürgen; Azizi, Maral; Geiger, Tobias; Bauer, Anton J.; Meißner, Elke; Frey, Lothar


Journal of applied physics 112 (2012), Nr.3, Art. 034909, 10 S.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Fraunhofer IISB ()
atomic force microscopy; EBIC; electrical conductivity; elemental semiconductors; grain boundary; iron; Schottky barrier; silicon

In this work, the electrical characteristics of grain boundaries (GBs) in multicrystalline silicon with and without iron contamination are analyzed by fixed voltage current maps and local I/V curves using conductive AFM (cAFM). I/V characteristics reveal the formation of a Schottky contact between the AFM tip and the sample surface. The impact of both, the polarity of the applied voltage and the illumination by the AFM laser on the behavior of GBs was analyzed systematically. Depending on the polarity of the applied voltage and the iron content of the sample, grain boundaries alter significantly the recorded current flow compared to the surrounding material. The results also show a clear influence of the AFM laser light on the electrical behavior of the grain boundaries. Conductive AFM measurements are furthermore compared to data obtained by electron beam induced current (EBIC), indicating that cAFM provides complimentary information.