Suppression of Compensating Native Defect Formation During Semiconductor Processing via Excess Carriers

Kirstin Alberi, M.A. Scarpulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus Citations


In many semiconductors, compensating defects set doping limits, decrease carrier mobility, and reduce minority carrier lifetime thus limiting their utility in devices. Native defects are often responsible. Suppressing the concentrations of compensating defects during processing close to thermal equilibrium is difficult because formation enthalpies are lowered as the Fermi level moves towards the majority band edge. Excess carriers, introduced for example by photogeneration, modify the formation enthalpy of semiconductor defects and thus can be harnessed during crystal growth or annealing to suppress defect populations. Herein we develop a rigorous and general model for defect formation in the presence of steady-state excess carrier concentrations by combining the standard quasi-chemical formalism with a detailed-balance description that is applicable for any defect state in the bandgap. Considering the quasi-Fermi levels as chemical potentials, we demonstrate that increasing the minority carrier concentration increases the formation enthalpy for typical compensating centers, thus suppressing their formation. This effect is illustrated for the specific example of GaSb. While our treatment is generalized for excess carrier injection or generation in semiconductors by any means, we provide a set of guidelines for applying the concept in photoassisted physical vapor deposition.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number27954
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-66494


  • defects
  • processing
  • semiconductors


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