Electron and proton irradiation effect on the minority carrier lifetime in SiC passivated p-doped Ge wafers for space photovoltaics
We report on the effect of electron and proton irradiation on effective minority carrier lifetimes (teff) in p-type Ge wafers. Minority carrier lifetimes are assessed using the microwave-detected photoconductance decay (mW-PCD) method. We examine the dependence of teff on the p-type doping level and on electron and proton radiation fluences at 1 MeV. The measured teff before and after irradiation are used to estimate the minority carriers' diffusion lengths, which is an important parameter for solar cell operation. We observe teff ranging from ≈ 50 to 230 ms for Ge doping levels between 1 × 1017 and 1 × 1016 at.cm−3, corresponding to diffusion lengths of ≈ 500-1400 mm. A separation of teff in Ge bulk lifetime and surface recombination velocity is conducted by irradiating Ge lifetime samples of different thicknesses. The possible radiation-induced defects are discussed on the basis of literature.