Novel Concepts in the PECVD Deposition of Silicon Thin Films : from Plasma Chemistry to Photovoltaic Device Applications

Abstract : This thesis describes the study of silicon thin film materials deposition and the resulting photovoltaic devices fabrication using different types of plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) techniques.In the first part, we combine a SiF4/H2 plasma chemistry with the matrix-distributed electron cyclotron resonance (MDECR) PECVD to obtain high growth rate microcrystalline silicon (µc-Si:H). Due to the special design of MDECR system, careful investigation of the impact energy of impinging ions to material deposition can be accessible. We find that moderate ion energy conditions is beneficial to achieve a significant drop in the density of nano-voids, thus a higher quality material with better stability can be obtained. A two-step deposition method is introduced as an alternative way to eliminate the existence of amorphous incubation layer during film growth.The second part of work is dedicate to the exploration of the Tailored Voltage Waveforms (TVWs) excitation technique for capacitively coupled plasmas (CCP) processes. As an advantage over the conventional sinusoidal excitations, TVWs technique provide an elegant solution for the ion flux-energy decoupling in CCP discharges through the electrical asymmetry effect, which makes the independent study of the impact of ion energy for material deposition at relatively high process pressure possible. Based on this insight, we have studied the deposition of µc-Si:H and amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) from the SiF4/H2/Ar and SiH4/H2 plasma chemistry, respectively. From the structural and electronic properties analysis, we find that the variation of ion energy can be directly translated into the material quality. We have further applied these results to photovoltaic applications and established bottom-up links from the controllable plasma parameters via TVWs to the deposited material properties, and eventually to the resulting device quality.In the last part, as a further application of TVWs, an “electrode-selective” effect has been discovered in the CCP processes. In the case of silicon thin film deposition from the SiF4/H2/Ar plasma chemistry, one can achieve a deposition process on one electrode, while at the same time either no deposition or an etching process on the counter electrode. This is due to two effects: the multi-precursor nature of the resulting surface process and the asymmetric plasma response through the utilization of TVWs. Moreover, such deposition/etching balance can be directly controlled through H2 flow rate. From a temporal asymmetry point of view, we have further studied the impact of process pressure and reactor geometry to the asymmetric plasma response for both the single-gas and multi-gas plasmas using the sawtooth waveforms. The product of pressure and inter-electrode distance P·di is deduced to be a crucial parameter in determine the plasma heating mode, so that a more flexible control over the discharge asymmetry as well as the relating “electrode-selective” surface process can be expected.
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Junkang Wang. Novel Concepts in the PECVD Deposition of Silicon Thin Films : from Plasma Chemistry to Photovoltaic Device Applications. Plasma Physics [physics.plasm-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLX079⟩. ⟨tel-01688695⟩

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