Recombination activity of nickel, copper, and oxygen atoms segregating at grain boundaries in mono-like silicon crystals

Yutaka Ohno, Kentaro Kutsukake, Momoko Deura, Ichiro Yonenaga, Yasuo Shimizu, Naoki Ebisawa, Koji Inoue, Yasuyoshi Nagai, Hideto Yoshida, Seiji Takeda

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Three-dimensional distribution of impurity atoms was determined at functional Σ5{013} and small-angle grain boundaries (GBs) in as-grown mono-like silicon crystals by atom probe tomography combined with transmission electron microscopy, and it was correlated with the recombination activity of those GBs, CGB, revealed by photoluminescence imaging. Nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), and oxygen atoms preferentially segregated at the GBs on which arrays of dislocations existed, while those atoms scarcely segregated at Σ5{013} GBs free from dislocations. Silicides containing Ni and Cu about 5 nm in size and oxides about 1 nm in size were formed along the dislocation arrays on those GBs. The number of segregating impurity atoms per unit GB area for Ni and that for Cu, NNi and NCu, were in a trade-off correlation with that for oxygen, NO, as a function of CGB, while the sum of those numbers was almost constant irrespective of the GB character, CGB, and the dislocation density on GBs. CGB would be explained as a linear combination of those numbers: CGB (in %) ∼400(0.38NO + NNi + NCu) (in atoms/nm2). The GB segregation of oxygen atoms would be better for solar cells, rather than that of metal impurities, from a viewpoint of the conversion efficiency of solar cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142105
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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