Amorphous/Crystalline Silicon Interface Stability: Correlation between Infrared Spectroscopy and Electronic Passivation Properties

Jakub Holovský, Silvia Martín De Nicolás, Stefaan De Wolf, Christophe Ballif

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7 Scopus citations


Ultrathin layers of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H), passivating the surface of crystalline silicon (c-Si), are key enablers for high-efficiency silicon heterojunction solar cells. In this work, the authors apply highly sensitive attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, combined with carrier-lifetime measurements and carrier-lifetime imaging, to resolve several fundamental and technology-related questions related to the a-Si:H/c-Si interface. To gain insight, the a-Si:H/c-Si interfacial morphology is intentionally manipulated by applying different surface, annealing and ageing treatments. Changes are observed in the vibrational modes of hydrides (SiHX), oxides (SiHX(SiYOZ)) together with hydroxyl and hydrocarbon surface groups. The effect of unintentional oxidation and contamination is considered as well. Electronic interfacial properties are reviewed and discussed of hydrogen mono-layer passivation of the c-Si surface and from the perspectives of a-Si:H bulk properties. It is found that both models have severe limitations and suggest that a new physical model of the interface, considering both is required.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2000957
JournalAdvanced Materials Interfaces
StatePublished - Aug 27 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was funded by Swiss SCIEX-NMSch fellowship (Grant No. 11.223), by Czech Science Foundation (Grant No. 18-24268S), and Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Grant Nos. CZ. 02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000464−“Centre of Advanced Photovoltaics”, and CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000760–“SOLID21”. The authors gratefully acknowledge the help of Johannes Seif and Loris Barraud from Photovoltaic and Thin-Film Electronics Laboratory at EPFL.


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