Enhancement of minority carrier lifetimes in n- and p-type silicon wafers using silver nanoparticle layers

The quasi-steady state photo conductance technique is employed to probe effective minority carrier lifetime (τ eff) modifications after integrating silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) on n-type and p-type silicon wafers with a native oxide surface. Our observations reveal that τ eff modification is very sensitive to Ag NPs size, surface coverage and also wafer type. With an optimized Ag NPs, τ eff is enhanced from 4.4 μs to 10 μs for a p-type silicon wafer, and from 8.1 μs to 14 μs for an n-type silicon wafer. We attributed the enhancement in τ eff to the partial field effect passivation of the silicon surface by the surface plasmon resonance near-fields of Ag NPs after excitation. Our investigations demonstrate that an optimized Ag NPs on any silicon wafer with a native oxide layer can work as both a light trapping and a surface-passivating layer.


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