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Comparison of three titanium-precursors for atomic-layer-deposited TiO2 for passivating contacts on silicon

Hiller, D.; Munnik, F.; López-Vidrier, J.; Solonenko, D.; Reif, J.; Knaut, M.; Thimm, O.; Grant, N. E.


Atomic layer-deposited (ALD) TiO2 thin films on silicon were deposited using titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4), titanium tetraisopropoxide (TTIP), and tetrakis(dimethylamino)titanium (TDMAT) together with water vapor as the oxidant at temperatures ranging between 75 and 250 °C. The Si surface passivation quality of as-deposited and isothermally annealed samples was compared using photoconductance lifetime measurements in order to calculate their effective surface recombination velocities Seff. A low Seff of 3.9 cm/s (J0s = 24 fA/cm2) is achieved for as-deposited TiCl4-TiO2 at 75 °C when a chemically grown (i.e., from RCA cleaning) SiOx interface layer is present. Depositing TTIP-TiO2 at 200 °C on a chemically grown SiOx interface layer yields equivalent Seff values; however, in this case, TTIP-TiO2 requires a 5–15 min postdeposition forming gas anneal at 250 °C. In contrast, TDMAT-TiO2 was not found to provide a similar level of passivation with/without a chemically grown SiOx interface layer and postdeposition anneal. Modeling of the effective lifetime curves was used to determine the magnitude of the effective charge densities Qf in the TiO2 films. In all cases, Qf was found to be of the order of ∼10^11 q cm−2, meaning field-effect passivation arising from ALD TiO2 is relatively weak. By comparing the material properties of the various TiO2 films using ellipsometry, photothermal deflection spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, elastic recoil detection analysis, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, we find experimental support for the role of Cl (in conjunction with hydrogen) playing a beneficial role in passivating dangling bond defects at the Si surface. It is concluded that low deposition temperature TiCl4 processes are advantageous, by providing the lowest Seff without any postanneal and a comparatively high growth per cycle (GPC).

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