Characterization of Monolayer-Level Composition and Optical Gap Profiles in Amorphous Silicon-Carbon Alloy Bandgap-Modulated Structures Proceedings Paper (Web of Science)


  • ABSTRACTOver the past few years we have applied real time spectroscopie ellipsometry (RTSE) to characterize the structural, compositional, and optical gap profiles in continuously-graded amorphous silicon-carbon alloy films (a-Si1-xCx:H). Most recently, we have extended the RTSE methods to their monolayer sensitivity and resolution limits. In this study, continuous triangular variations in the carbon content × (0.02≤x≤0.24) within ∼25 to 130 Å thick graded layers were introduced at the i/p interfaces of the n-i-p solar cell structures using continuous variations in the flow ratio z=[CH4]/{[SiH4]+[CH4]} during rf plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). A virtual interface approximation has been applied to interpret the RTSE data collected during the growth of the graded interface layers. This analysis yields C-content depth-profiles with monolayer-level resolution and a compositional uncertainty of ±0.004. Even compositional gradients in which x changes by >0.2 within a few monolayers’ thickness are readily characterized. Lastly, a continuous increase in open circuit voltage with increasing graded interface layer thickness, saturating at ΔVoc=0.1 V after 100 Å, is observed in the n-i-p solar cells with graded layers. These results demonstrate the importance of the RTSE analysis in assessing bandgap engineered device designs.


publication date

  • 1997

published in

start page

  • 531


  • 467