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High-temperature Degradation in Plasma-enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition Al2O3 Surface Passivation Layers on Crystalline Silicon

: Kühnhold, S.; Saint-Cast, P.; Kafle, B.; Hofmann, M.; Colonna, F.; Zacharias, M.


Journal of applied physics 116 (2014), Art. 054507, 10 S.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Fraunhofer IWM ()
PV Produktionstechnologie und Qualitätssicherung; Silicium-Photovoltaik; Oberflächen - Konditionierung; Passivierung; Lichteinfang; Messtechnik und Produktionskontrolle

In this publication, the activation and degradation of the passivation quality of plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposited aluminum oxide (Al 2O3) layers with different thicknesses (10nm, 20nm, and 110nm) on crystalline silicon (c-Si) during long and high temperature treatments are investigated. As indicated by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, the concentration of tetrahedral and octahedral sites within the Al 2O3 layer changes during temperature treatments and correlates with the amount of negative fixed charges at the Si/Al2O3 interface, which was detected by Corona Oxide Characterization of Semiconductors. Furthermore, during a temperature treatment at 820°C for 30min, the initial amorphous Al 2O3 layer crystallize into the -Al2O3 structure and was enhanced by additional oxygen as was proven by x-ray diffraction measurements and underlined by Density Functional Theory simulations. The crystallization correlates with the increase of the optical density up to 20% while the final Al 2O3 layer thickness decreases at the same time up to 26%. All observations described above were detected to be Al 2O3 layer thickness dependent. These observations reveal novel aspects to explain the temperature induced passivation and degradation mechanisms of Al 2O3 layers at a molecular level like the origin of the negative fixe charges at the Si/SiOx/Al2O3 interface or the phenomena of blistering. Moreover, the crystal phase of Al 2O3 does not deliver good surface passivation due to a high concentration of octahedral sites leading to a lower concentration of negative fixed charges at the interface.