Date of Award

Fall 2008

Project Type


Program or Major

Materials Science

Degree Name

Master of Science


Amorphous silicon nitride with incorporated hydrogen has been widely used as the anti-reflection coating for solar cells. However, current solar industry processes for silicon nitride are mainly deposited under expensive vacuum environments which are also batch type processes. Silicon nitride deposited in atmospheric pressure plasma is needed to reduce the cost of solar cells.

A dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) can be used to deposit thin films under atmospheric pressure. In this thesis, a new atmospheric pressure plasma deposition system was built and silicon nitride films were deposited on 4 by 4 inches polycrystalline silicon wafers, 3 inches single crystalline silicon wafers and 1 inch KBr windows.

Various series of experiments were conducted to determine the silicon nitride films properties as a function of process parameters. Finally, the silicon nitride films were analyzed by XPS, FTIR, and SEM.