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Optimization of p-type Nanocrystalline Silicon Thin Films for Solar Cells and Photodiodes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2011

Yuri Vygranenko
Affiliation:, ISEL, R Consulheiro Emidio Navarro 1, ISEL-DEETC, Lisbon, P1949-014, Portugal
Ehsanollah Fathi
Affiliation:, Waterloo University, Electrical&Computer Engineering, Waterloo, Canada
Andrei Sazonov
Affiliation:, Waterloo University, Electrical&Computer Engineering, Waterloo, Canada
Manuela Vieira
Affiliation:, ISEL, Electronics Telecommunications and Computer Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal
Gregory Heiler
Affiliation:, Carestream Health, Inc., Rochester, New York, United States
Timothy Tredwell
Affiliation:, Carestream Health, Inc., Rochester, New York, United States
Arokia Nathan
Affiliation:, UCL, London Centre for Nanotechnology, London, United Kingdom
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We report on structural, electronic, and optical properties of boron-doped, hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) thin films deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) at a substrate temperature of 150°C. Film properties were studied as a function of trimethylboron-to-silane ratio and film thickness. The film thickness was varied in the range from 14 to 100 nm. The conductivity of 60 nm thick films reached a peak value of 0.07 S/cm at a doping ratio of 1%. As a result of amorphization of the film structure, which was indicated by Raman spectra measurements, any further increase in doping reduced conductivity. We also observed an abrupt increase in conductivity with increasing film thickness ascribed to a percolation cluster composed of silicon nanocrystallites. The absorption loss of 25% at a wavelength of 400 nm was measured for the films with optimized conductivity deposited on glass and glass/ZnO:Al substrates. A low-leakage, blue-enhanced p-i-n photodiode with an nc-Si p-layer was also fabricated and characterized.

Research Article
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2009

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