H/D-, N-H/D- and Si-H/D-bond density changes were investigated in stacks consisting of a Cz-Si substrate, a thin layer of SiO2, amorphous deuterated silicon nitride as well as amorphous hydrogenated silicon nitride in order to see if the post deposition anneal of a-SixNyHz layers on crystalline silicon wafers can actually lead to a migration of H atoms into the Si-bulk, which is an important question in regard to emitter passivation of Si-solar cells.
The stacks were grown with remote plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (RPECVD). A low temperature (≈200°C) process of down stream injected ammonia (NH3) and silane (SiH4) activated by an upstream injected He-plasma, produced through RF-radiation (13.65MHz) was used. Thermal treatment was executed by ex situ rapid thermal anneal in Ar ambient. For the measurements of H and D bond densities, FTIR was employed while SIMS determined atomic densities of H, D and O in the c-Si/nitride interface region. The experiments showed that H transport in silicon nitride is determined by several mechanisms including diffusion and dissociation processes and that silicon nitride deposited with high ammonia to silane ratios can produce molecular species like ammonia and H2. The study of the reaction dynamics showed that the production of molecular hydrogen is the most dominant process as long as Si-H-bonds are present in the system. After their exhaustion, an ammonia producing reaction prevails that leads with increasing temperatures to lower densities in the nitride films.