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Title: Bandgap and strain engineering in epitaxial rocksalt structure (Ti 0.5 Mg 0.5 ) 1−x Al x N(001) semiconductors
Rocksalt structure nitrides emerge as a promising class of semiconductors for high-temperature thermoelectric and plasmonic applications. Controlling the bandgap and strain is essential for the development of a wide variety of electronic devices. Here we use (Ti 0.5 Mg 0.5 ) 1−x Al x N as a model system to explore and demonstrate the tunability of both the bandgap and the strain state in rocksalt structure nitrides, employing a combined experimental and computational approach. (Ti 0.5 Mg 0.5 ) 1−x Al x N layers with x ≤ 0.44 deposited on MgO(001) substrates by reactive co-sputtering at 700 °C are epitaxial single crystals with a solid-solution B1 rocksalt structure. The lattice mismatch with the substrate decreases with increasing x , leading to a transition in the strain-state from partially relaxed (74% and 38% for x = 0 and 0.09) to fully strained for x ≥ 0.22. First-principles calculations employing 64-atom Special Quasirandom Structures (SQS) indicate that the lattice constant decreases linearly with x according to a = (4.308 − 0.234 x ) Å for 0 ≤ x ≤ 1. In contrast, the measured relaxed lattice parameter a o = (4.269 − 0.131 x ) Å is linear only for x ≤ 0.33, its composition dependence is less pronounced, and x > 0.44 leads to the nucleation of secondary phases. The fundamental (indirect) bandgap predicted using the same SQS supercells and the HSE06 functional increases from 1.0 to 2.6 eV for x = 0–0.75. In contrast, the onset of the measured optical absorption due to interband transitions increases only from 2.3 to 2.6 eV for x = 0–0.44, suggesting that the addition of Al in the solid solution relaxes the electron momentum conservation and causes a shift from direct to indirect gap transitions. The resistivity increases from 9.0 to 708 μΩ m at 77 K and from 6.8 to 89 μΩ m at 295 K with increasing x = 0–0.44, indicating an increasing carrier localization associated with a randomization of cation site occupation and the increasing bandgap which also causes a 33% reduction in the optical carrier concentration. The overall results demonstrate bandgap and strain engineering in rocksalt nitride semiconductors and show that, in contrast to conventional covalent semiconductors, the random cation site occupation strongly affects optical transitions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1712752 1629230
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Chemistry C
Page Range / eLocation ID:
12677 to 12688
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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