Laser processing of thin-film silicon is a promising approach for the realization of polycrystalline silicon for large area electronics and solar cell applications. In this study we investigate the material modification of amorphous hydrogenated silicon (a-Si:H) with different hydrogen content (30%, 13% and <1%) by means of femtosecond (fs) laser pulses. Depending on the peak fluence applied, hydrogen diffusion/effusion, layer crystallization or material ablation can be achieved. Despite the low absorption coefficient of a-Si:H at the center wavelength of an amplified Titanium Sapphire laser at 790 nm a high local energy deposition close to the surface of the a-Si:H layer is observed, which can be attributed to a nonlinear absorption process.
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