A method for fabricating polycrystalline thin films on low-temperature (or high-temperature) substrates which uses processing temperatures that are low enough to avoid damage to the substrate, and then transiently heating select layers of the thin films with at least one pulse of a laser or other homogenized beam source. The pulse length is selected so that the layers of interest are transiently heated to a temperature which allows recrystallization and/or dopant activation while maintaining the substrate at a temperature which is sufficiently low to avoid damage to the substrate. This method is particularly applicable in the fabrication of solar cells.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.