Initial Stage Hydrogen Movement and IR Absorption Proportionality Constants In Hot-Wire Deposited SiN1.2:H During High-Temperature Annealing


Silicon nitride (SiNx)H) layers were deposited using a high deposition rate Hot-Wire CVD technique (up to 5 nm/s) and their application as passivating antireflection coating on multi-crystalline silicon solar cells was investigated. An important aspect is the hydrogen release and diffusion during a short annealing treatment at temperatures well above the deposition temperature. Such annealing treatments (firing) are used during contact formation of multi-crystalline solar cells.

A series of SiNxiH layers with Si/N ratio in the range of 0.7-1.45 was first characterized using optical R/T measurements, Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Elastic Recoil Detection (ERD) to determine optical constants n and k, Si-H, N-H and Si-N bond densities, Si-H peak position and H content. To get more insight in the passivation process during firing, which takes place at roughly 800 °C, samples with a N/Si ratio of 1.2 were annealed at this temperature for different times (15 s - 10 min). The total bonded H content, measured with FTIR, using conventional proportionality constants as proposed by Lanford and Rand [1], seems to show an increase within the first 60 s. At longer annealing times, the bonded H content decreases, as expected. The behavior of the H content under annealing measured by FTIR and ERD can be explained by using different matrix elements for calculating the H content from the FTIR data. The matrix element for the N-H stretching mode (3343 cm−1) was determined to be (4.7±0.2)x1020 cm−2 while the Si-H stretching (2193 cm−1) was found to be (0.55±0.04)x1020 cm−2. Such high matrix elements for the N-H stretching mode have not been reported earlier. The value of the Si-H stretching mode matrix element is within the reported values for different back bonding scenarios, but low for a peak position of 2193 cm−1. The ratio between the matrix elements of 8.5 differs strongly from the ratio of 2 observed by Lanford [1] or Bohne [2].

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1

    W.A Lanford and M.J. Rand J. Appl. Phys. 49 (1978) p.2473

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    W. Bohne, W. Fuhs, J. Rohrich, B. Selle, G. Gonzalez-Diaz, I. Martil, F.L. Martinez, A. del Prado. Surf. Interface Anal. 30, (2000) p. 534

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    J.K. Holt, D.G. Goodwin, A.M. Gabor, F. Jiang, M.Stavola, H.A. Atwater, Thin Solid Films 430 (2003) p. 37

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Duerinckx J. Szlufcik, Sol. Energ. Mat. Sol. C. 72 (2002) p. 231

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5


  6. 6

    R.E.I Schropp, K.F. Feenstra, E.C. Molenbroek, H. Meiling and J.K. Rath, Philos. Mag B 76 (1997) p.309

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    M. H. Brodsky, M. Cardona, J.J. Cuomo. Phys. Rev. B. 16, 8 (1977), p.3556

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    N. Maley Phys. Rev. B 46, 4 (1992), p. 2078

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    C.H.M. van der Werf, H.D. Goldbach, J. Loffler, A. Scarfo, A.M.C. Kylner, B. Stannowski, W.M Arnoldbik, A. Weeber, H. Rieffe, W.J. Soppe, J.K. Rath, R.E.I Schropp, to be published in Thin Solid Films

  10. 10

    E. Bustarret, M. Bensouda, M.C. Habrard, J.C. Bruyere, S. Poulin, S.C. Gujrathi, Phys. Rev. B. 35 (1988) p. 8171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    F. Giorgis, F. Giuliani, C.F. Pirri, E. Tresso, C. Summonte, R. Rizzoli, R. Galloni, A. Desalvo, P. Rava., Philos. Mag. B. 77 (1998) p. 925

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    F. Schuurmann, PhD thesis Utrecht University 1998

  13. 13

    C. Boehme, G. Lucovsky, J. Non-Cryst. Solids 299-302 (2002) p. 1157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Y B. Park, S W. Rhee J. Mater. Sci.-Mater. El.. 12 (2001) p. 515

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    F.L. Martinez, A. del Prado, D. Bravo, F.J. Lopez and I. Martil J. Appl.Phys. 88 (2000) p.2149

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    S. Hasegawa, L. He, Amano, and T. Inokuma Phys. Rev. B 48 (1993) p. 5315

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We like to thank SenterNovem for funding our research, T. Su from the University of Utah for the NMR measurements and J. Löffler for fruitful discussions.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to H.D. Goldbach.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Goldbach, H., Verlaan, V., van der Werf, C. et al. Initial Stage Hydrogen Movement and IR Absorption Proportionality Constants In Hot-Wire Deposited SiN1.2:H During High-Temperature Annealing. MRS Online Proceedings Library 862, 34 (2004).

Download citation