Surface texturing of silicon using femtosecond (fs) laser irradiation is an attractive method for enhancing light trapping, but the laser-induced damage that occurs in parallel with surface texturing can inhibit device performance. In this work, we investigate the light-material interaction during the texturing of silicon by directly correlating the formation of pressure-induced silicon polymorphs, fs-laser irradiation conditions, and the resulting morphology and microstructure using scanning electron microscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. We show that raster scanning a pulsed laser beam with a Gaussian profile enhances the formation of crystalline pressure-induced silicon polymorphs by an order of magnitude compared with stationary pulsed fs-laser irradiation. Based on these observations, we identify resolidification-induced stresses as the mechanism responsible for driving sub-surface phase transformations during the surface texturing of silicon, the understanding of which is an important first step towards reducing laser-induced damage during the texturing of silicon with fs-laser irradiation.

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See supplementary material at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4759140 for additional TEM characterization.

Supplementary Material

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