Hydrogenated amorphous silicon has been widely studied last years, both from the basic research and industrial points of view, due to the important set of potential applications that this material offers, ranging from Thin Films Transistors (TFTs) to solar cells technologies. In different fabrication steps of a-Si:H based devices, laser sources have been used as appropriate tools for cutting, crystallising, contacting, patterning, etc., and more recent research lines are undertaking the problem of a-Si:H selective laser ablation for different applications.
The controlled ablation of photovoltaic materials with minimum debris and small heat affected zone with low processing costs, is one of the main difficulties for the successful implementation of laser micromachining as competitive technology in this field. This work presents a detailed study of a-Si:H laser ablation in the ns regime. Ablation curves are measured and fluence thresholds are determined. Additionally, and due to the improved performance in optolectronic properties associated to the nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H), some samples of this material have been also studied.