MRS Spring Meeting 2009
Conference paper

Improving silicon crystallinity by grain reorientation annealing

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Demand for high efficiency, low-cost solar cells has led to strong interest in post-deposition processing techniques that can improve the crystallinity of thick (1 to 40 μm) silicon films deposited at high growth rates. Here we describe a high temperature grain reorientation annealing process that enables the conversion of polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) into a single crystal material having the orientation of an underlying single crystal Si seed layer. Poly-Si films of thickness 0.5 to 1.0 μm were deposited by low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) on substrates comprising a surface thermal oxide or a 100-oriented single crystal silicon-on-insulator (SOI) layer. After annealing at 1300 °C for 1 hour, poly-Si on oxide shows very significant grain growth, as expected. In contrast, the poly-Si deposited on SOI showed no grain boundaries after annealing, transforming into a single crystal material with a fairly high density of stacking faults. Possible uses and drawbacks of this approach for solar cell applications will be discussed. © 2009 Materials Research Society.