Reduction of Picosecond Laser Ablation Threshold and Damage Via Nanosecond Pre-Pulse for Removal of Dielectric Layers on Silicon Solar Cells
Laser microstructuring of thin dielectric layers on sensitive electronic devices, such as crystalline silicon solar cells, requires a careful design of the laser ablation process. For instance, degradation of the substrate's crystallinity can vastly decrease minority carrier lifetime and consequently impair the efficiency of such devices. Short-pulse laser ablation seems well suited for clean and spatially confined structuring because of the small heat-affected zone in the remaining substrate material [Dube and Gonsiorawski in Conference record of the twenty first IEEE photovoltaic specialists conference, 624-628 1990]. The short-time regimes, however, generate steep temperature gradients that can lead to amorphization of the remaining silicon surface. By 'heating' the substrate via a non-ablative laser pulse in the nanosecond regime before the actual ablation pulse occurs we are able to prevent amorphization of the surface of the silicon solar cell substrate, while lowering the ablation thresholds of a SiNx layer on crystalline silicon wafers.