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Synthesis of Large-Grained Polycrystalline Silicon by Hot-Wire Chemical Vapor Deposition for Thin Film Photovoltaic Applications


Mason, Maribeth Swiatek (2004) Synthesis of Large-Grained Polycrystalline Silicon by Hot-Wire Chemical Vapor Deposition for Thin Film Photovoltaic Applications. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7K9R-VX22.


In this study, we investigate the fabrication of large-grained polycrystalline silicon by hot-wire chemical vapor deposition (HWCVD) and its suitability for thin-film photovoltaic applications. We have devised two strategies for the fast, low-temperature growth of thin polycrystalline silicon films on glass substrates. The first is the direct growth of polycrystalline silicon on SiO₂ by HWCVD. We use atomic force microscopy (AFM) to characterize fully continuous polycrystalline silicon films grown by HWCVD on SiO₂, as well as the nucleation density of silicon islands formed in the early stages of HWCVD growth, as a function of temperature and hydrogen dilution (H₂:SiH₄). Our observations of the nucleation kinetics of Si on SiO₂ can be explained by a rate-equation pair-binding model, from which we derive an estimate for the prefactor and activation energy for surface diffusion of Si on SiO₂ during HWCVD growth and assess the viability of this method for the rapid growth of large-grained polycrystalline silicon on SiO₂.

The second strategy uses large-grained (~100 µm) polycrystalline silicon layers fabricated by selective nucleation and solid-phase epitaxy (SNSPE) on SiO₂ substrates as templates for epitaxial growth by HWCVD. Using reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), we have derived a phase diagram for Si on Si(100) consisting of epitaxial, twinned epitaxial, mixed epitaxial/polycrystalline, and polycrystalline phases of growth on Si(100) in the 50 nm-2 µm thickness regime. Evidence is also presented for epitaxial growth on SNSPE templates, which use nickel nanoparticles as nucleation sites for the solid-phase crystallization of phosphorus-doped amorphous silicon on SiO₂. Minority carrier lifetimes for films on Si(100), as measured by resonant-coupled photoconductive decay experiments, range from 5.7 to 14.8 microseconds while those for films on SNSPE templates range from 5.9 to 19.3 microseconds. Residual nickel present in the SNSPE templates does not significantly affect the lifetime of films grown on SNSPE templates, making the growth of epitaxial layers by HWCVD on SNSPE templates a possible strategy for the fabrication of thin-film photovoltaics.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:cat-CVD; hot-wire CVD; photovoltaics; solar cells
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Atwater, Harry Albert
Thesis Committee:
  • Atwater, Harry Albert (chair)
  • Bockrath, Marc William
  • Flagan, Richard C.
  • Haile, Sossina M.
  • Goddard, William A., III
Defense Date:14 January 2004
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03182004-221215
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:998
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:22 Mar 2004
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:12

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