Amorphous/crystalline silicon interface defects induced by hydrogen plasma treatments
Excellent amorphous/crystalline silicon interface passivation is of extreme importance for high-efficiency silicon heterojunction solar cells. This can be obtained by inserting hydrogen-plasma treatments during deposition of the amorphous silicon passivation layers. Prolonged hydrogen-plasmas lead to film etching. We report on the defect creation induced by such treatments: A severe drop in interface-passivation quality is observed when films are etched to a thickness of less than 8 nm. Detailed characterization shows that this decay is due to persistent defects created at the crystalline silicon surface. Pristine interfaces are preserved when the post-etching film thickness exceeds 8 nm, yielding high quality interface passivation. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.