Contactless analysis of surface passivation and charge transfer at the TiO 2-Si interface

Ramsha Khan, Xiaolong Liu, Ville Vähänissi, Harri Ali-Löytty, Hannu P. Pasanen, Hele Savin*, Nikolai V Tkachenko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Transition metal oxides are pivotal in enhancing surface passivation and facilitating charge transfer (CT) in silicon based photonic devices, improving their efficacy and affordability through interfacial engineering. This study investigates TiO 2/Si heterojunctions prepared by atomic layer deposition (ALD) with different pre-ALD chemical and post-ALD thermal treatments, exploring their influence on the surface passivation and the correlation with the CT at the TiO 2-Si interface. Surface passivation quality is evaluated by the photoconductance decay method to study the effective carrier lifetime, while CT from Si to TiO 2 is examined by transient reflectance spectroscopy. Surprisingly, the as-deposited TiO 2 on HF-treated n-Si (without interfacial SiO x) demonstrates superior surface passivation with an effective lifetime of 1.23 ms, twice that of TiO 2/SiO x/n-Si, and a short characteristic CT time of 200 ps, tenfold faster than that of TiO 2/SiO x/n-Si. Post-ALD annealing at temperatures approaching the TiO 2 crystallization onset re-introduces the SiO x layers in HF-treated samples and induces chemical and structural changes in all the samples which decrease passivation and prolong the CT time and are hence detrimental to the photonic device performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15268-15276
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number21
Early online date2024
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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