The formation of defect Complexes in a ZnO grain boundary
Journal article, 2004
The microscopic properties a ZnO grain boundary containing extrinsic point defects are studied using a density functional computational approach. The results show that the grain boundary acts as a sink for native defects, such as the zinc vacancy and the oxygen interstitial, and also for bismuth substitutional impurities. The defects tend to accumulate at under-coordinated sites in the boundary core and prefer to form small clusters. In particular the segregation of Bi promotes the formation of the other native defects by lowering their formation energies in the boundary. Individually, the native defects and the Bi impurity do not produce deep interface states in the band gap which are electrically active. However, when the defects cluster to form a Bi zn -V zn -O i complex, new gap states are created of acceptor type. It is suggested that these new states are caused by defect interactions which compensate one another resulting in the depletion of an occupied impurity state and new bond formation. The results are discussed in terms of the Schottky barrier model commonly used to describe the electrical characteristics of ZnO varistors.
Density functional calculation