Journal article

Low ion energy RF reactor using an array of plasmas through a grounded grid

A reactor using localized remote plasma in a grid electrode is presented in this study. The aim is to reduce the ion bombardment energy inherent in RF capacitively coupled parallel plate reactors used to deposit large area thin film silicon solar cells. High ion bombardment energy could cause defects in silicon layers and deteriorate electrical interfaces, therefore, by reducing the ion bombardment energy, lower defect density might be obtained. In this study, the low ion bombardment energy results from the reactor design. By inserting a grounded grid close to the RF electrode of a parallel plate reactor, the electrode area asymmetry is increased while retaining the lateral uniformity required for large area deposition. This asymmetry causes a strong negative self-bias voltage, which reduces the time-averaged plasma potential and thus lowers the ion bombardment energy. In addition to the self-bias, the time evolution of plasma light emission and plasma potential RF waveform are also affected by the grid, thereby further reducing the time-averaged plasma potential and ion bombardment energy. Finally, a good correlation between the measured time-averaged plasma potential and measured low ion bombardment energy is found in a broad range of RF voltages. (C) 2013 American Vacuum Society. []


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