Conference paper

Silane depletion dependent ion bombardment and material quality of microcrystalline silicon deposited by VHF-PECVD

Microcrystalline silicon is a composite material embedding silicon nanocrystals in an amorphous matrix [1]. It has attracted much research efforts in the photovoltaic domain [2], because of its potential for integration in a tandem cell concept as bottom cell with an amorphous silicon top cell. Efficiencies of micromorph tandem cells and modules well above 10% have thus been demonstrated [3]. However, due to its complex structure that depends on deposition conditions [1, 4] and substrate properties [5], and due to the difficulty of characterizing plasma deposition regimes, the impact of these parameters on the microcrystalline material quality is still an open field of research. In this paper, microcrystalline silicon thin films are deposited in different conditions of silane depletion following a recent publication [6] and the material quality is investigated. It is shown that by simply reducing the hydrogen flow, the microcrystalline material quality can be greatly improved. This improvement is correlated with the reduced ion bombardment energy in high depletion regimes, leading to lower defect densities in the microcrystalline intrinsic layer.

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