Becker, C.; Pagels, M.; Zachäus, C.; Pollakowski, B.; Beckhoff, B.; Kanngießer, B.; Rech, B.: Chemical speciation at buried interfaces in high-temperature processed polycrystalline silicon thin-film solar cells on ZnO:Al. Journal of Applied Physics 113 (2013), p. 044519/1-7

The combination of polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) thin films with aluminum doped zinc oxide layers (ZnO:Al) as transparent conductive oxide enables the design of appealing optoelectronic devices at low costs, namely in the field of photovoltaics. The fabrication of both thin-film materials requires high-temperature treatments which are highly desired for obtaining a high electrical material quality. Annealing procedures are typically applied during crystallization and defect-healing processes for silicon and can boost the carrier mobility and conductivity of ZnO:Al layers. In a combined poly-Si/ZnO:Al layer system an in-depth knowledge of the interaction of both layers and the control of interface reactions upon thermal treatments is crucial. Therefore, we analyze the influence of rapid thermal treatments up to 1050°C on solid phase crystallized poly-Si thin-film solar cells on ZnO:Al-coated glass, focusing on chemical interface reactions and modifications of the poly-Si absorber material quality. The presence of a ZnO:Al layer in the solar cell stack was found to limit the poly-Si solar cell performance with open circuit voltages only below 390 mV (compared to 435 mV without ZnO film), even if a silicon nitride (SiN) diffusion barrier was included. A considerable amount of diffused zinc inside the silicon was observed. By grazing-incidence x-ray fluorescence spectrometry a depth-resolving analysis of the elemental composition close to the poly-Si/(SiN)/ZnO:Al interface was carried out. Temperatures above 1000°C were found to promote the formation of new chemical compounds within about 10 nm of interface, such as zinc silicates (Zn2SiO4) and aluminium oxide (AlxOy). These results give valuable insights about the temperature-limitations of Si/ZnO thin-film solar cell fabrication and the formation of high-mobility ZnO-layers by thermal anneal.