Transparent conducting oxides (TCO) are widely used in technological applications ranging from photovoltaics to thin-film transparent field-effect transistors. In this work we report a first-principles investigation, based on density-functional theory, of the atomic and electronic properties of Ga 2 O3 (ZnO) 6 (GZO6), which is a promising candidate to be used as host oxide for wide band gap TCO applications. We identify a low-energy configuration for the coherent distribution of the Ga and Zn atoms in the cation positions within the experimentally reported orthorhombic GZO6 structure. Four Ga atoms are located in four-fold sites, while the remaining 12 Ga atoms in the unit cell form four shared Ga agglomerates (a motif of four atoms). The Zn atoms are distributed in the remaining cation sites with effective coordination numbers from 3.90 to 4.50. Furthermore, we identify the natural formation of twin-boundaries in GZO6, which can explain the zigzag modulations observed experimentally by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy in GZOn (n=9). Due to the intrinsic twin-boundary formation, polarity inversion in the ZnO tetrahedrons is present which is facilitated by the formation of the Ga agglomerates. Our analysis shows that the formation of fourfold Ga sites and Ga agglomerates are stabilized by the electronic octet rule, while the distribution of Ga atoms and the formation of the twin-boundary help alleviate excess strain. Finally we identify that the electronic properties of GZO6 are essentially determined by the electronic properties of ZnO, i.e., there are slight changes in the band gap and optical absorption properties.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - 29 Dec 2009|