Silicon Nitride Barrier Layers Mitigate Minority-Carrier Lifetime Degradation in Silicon Wafers during Simulated MBE Growth of III-V Layers

Chaomin Zhang, Laura Ding, Mathieu Boccard, Tine U. Narland, Nikolai Faleev, Stuart Bowden, Mariana Bertoni, Christiana Honsberg, Zachary Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We observe a degradation of the minority-carrier lifetime in silicon substrates after a temperature cycle in a molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) chamber that is representative of the growth of III-V materials. This decrease in the lifetime is from milliseconds to microseconds, and in some cases into the sub-microsecond range. The degradation appears to be caused by thermally activated diffusion of metals from the back side of the substrate, occurring at temperatures above 500 °C. This impacts the ability to achieve high-performance monolithic III-V/Si multi-junction solar cells, since the epitaxial growth usually requires high-temperature steps (over 700 °C) for surface de-oxidation or surface reconstruction and temperatures of 400-600 °C during the epitaxial growth. We show that, through phosphorous diffusion gettering, the lifetimes of degraded wafers can be recovered to the millisecond range. Further, we demonstrate that a silicon nitride coating functions both as a diffusion barrier and as an interfacial gettering or hydrogenation agent, enabling high minority-carrier lifetimes directly out of the MBE chamber. This approach allows for the silicon minority-carrier lifetime to be maintained in the millisecond range without the need for post-growth recovery, providing a path to achieve high-efficiency III-V/Si solar cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8625581
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Fingerprint

Carrier lifetime
barrier layers
carrier lifetime
minority carriers
Silicon nitride
Silicon wafers
silicon nitrides
Molecular beam epitaxy
molecular beam epitaxy
wafers
degradation
Degradation
silicon
Silicon
Epitaxial growth
solar cells
chambers
life (durability)
Temperature
Surface reconstruction

Keywords

  • diffusion barrier
  • III-V/Si integration
  • minoritycarrier lifetime
  • molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)
  • SiN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Silicon Nitride Barrier Layers Mitigate Minority-Carrier Lifetime Degradation in Silicon Wafers during Simulated MBE Growth of III-V Layers. / Zhang, Chaomin; Ding, Laura; Boccard, Mathieu; Narland, Tine U.; Faleev, Nikolai; Bowden, Stuart; Bertoni, Mariana; Honsberg, Christiana; Holman, Zachary.

In: IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, Vol. 9, No. 2, 8625581, 01.03.2019, p. 431-436.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "We observe a degradation of the minority-carrier lifetime in silicon substrates after a temperature cycle in a molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) chamber that is representative of the growth of III-V materials. This decrease in the lifetime is from milliseconds to microseconds, and in some cases into the sub-microsecond range. The degradation appears to be caused by thermally activated diffusion of metals from the back side of the substrate, occurring at temperatures above 500 °C. This impacts the ability to achieve high-performance monolithic III-V/Si multi-junction solar cells, since the epitaxial growth usually requires high-temperature steps (over 700 °C) for surface de-oxidation or surface reconstruction and temperatures of 400-600 °C during the epitaxial growth. We show that, through phosphorous diffusion gettering, the lifetimes of degraded wafers can be recovered to the millisecond range. Further, we demonstrate that a silicon nitride coating functions both as a diffusion barrier and as an interfacial gettering or hydrogenation agent, enabling high minority-carrier lifetimes directly out of the MBE chamber. This approach allows for the silicon minority-carrier lifetime to be maintained in the millisecond range without the need for post-growth recovery, providing a path to achieve high-efficiency III-V/Si solar cells.",
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