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Minority-Carrier Lifetime Spectroscopy

Lifetime scanning map of polysilicon lifetime at various excitation wavelengths.

Maps of the polysilicon lifetime at various excitation wavelengths provide information on bulk, surface, and grain-boundary recombinations.

Minority-carrier lifetime spectroscopy is a method to study the recombination processes of materials optically or electronically. It examines the return of photoexcited carriers back to equilibrium as a function of time and provides a measure of the "lifetime" of the excess carriers. This is accomplished with varying levels of volume excitation and sample temperatures of 4 to 300 K. One optical detection technique called time-correlated single-photon counting or time-resolved photoluminescence provides exceptionally fast system response times of 20 ps (optical detection from 0.4 to 1.0 µm) and 100 fs (optical detection from 0.5 to > 2 µm). Microwave-reflection photoconductive decay (µPCD) and resonant-coupled photoconductive decay (RCPCD) are techniques to monitor the change in conductivity in both direct and indirect bandgap materials. The 5-ns time resolution for the µ-PCD systems (7 and 20 GHz) and ~ 50-ns resolution for RCPCD (~450 MHz) are capable of 1- and 2-dimensional lifetime mapping with ~1-mm spatial resolution.

Applications

Minority-carrier lifetime

Measures material quality through a strong sensitivity to the presence of defects detrimental to device performance.

Recombination Processes

Determines the underlying physics of the recombination process by analyzing the dependence of lifetime on the level of photo-excitation and temperature.

Surface/Interface Recombination Velocity

Distinguishes between recombination processes occurring in the bulk of the device and those occurring at interfaces or boundaries. This is accomplished by identifying the dependence of lifetime on geometry of the device being tested or excitation wavelength.

For additional information contact Dean Levi, 303-384-6605.