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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. Hematite (α-Fe 2 O 3 ) is a promising transition metal oxide for various energy conversion and storage applications due to its advantages of low cost, high abundance, and good chemical stability. However, its low carrier mobility and electrical conductivity have hindered the wide application of hematite-based devices. Fundamentally, this is mainly caused by the formation of small polarons, which show conduction through thermally activated hopping. Atomic doping is one of the most promising approaches for improving the electrical conductivity in hematite. However, its impact on the carrier mobility and electrical conductivity of hematite at the atomic level remains to be illusive. In this work, through a kinetic Monte-Carlo sampling approach for diffusion coefficients combined with carrier concentrations computed under charge neutrality conditions, we obtained the electrical conductivity of the doped hematite. We considered the contributions from individual Fe–O layers, given that the in-plane carrier transport dominates. We then studied how different dopants impact the carrier mobility in hematite using Sn, Ti, and Nb as prototypical examples. We found that the carrier mobility change is closely correlated with the local distortion of Fe–Fe pairs, i.e. the more stretched the Fe–Fe pairs are compared to the pristine systems, the lower the carrier mobility will be. Therefore, elements which limit the distortion of Fe–Fe pair distances from pristine are more desired for higher carrier mobility in hematite. The calculated local structure and pair distribution functions of the doped systems have remarkable agreement with the experimental EXAFS measurements on hematite nanowires, which further validates our first-principles predictions. Our work revealed how dopants impact the carrier mobility and electrical conductivity of hematite and provided practical guidelines to experimentalists on the choice of dopants for the optimal electrical conductivity of hematite and the performance of hematite-based devices. 
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  3. Abstract

    Despite the recognition of two-dimensional (2D) systems as emerging and scalable host materials of single-photon emitters or spin qubits, the uncontrolled, and undetermined chemical nature of these quantum defects has been a roadblock to further development. Leveraging the design of extrinsic defects can circumvent these persistent issues and provide an ultimate solution. Here, we established a complete theoretical framework to accurately and systematically design quantum defects in wide-bandgap 2D systems. With this approach, essential static and dynamical properties are equally considered for spin qubit discovery. In particular, many-body interactions such as defect–exciton couplings are vital for describing excited state properties of defects in ultrathin 2D systems. Meanwhile, nonradiative processes such as phonon-assisted decay and intersystem crossing rates require careful evaluation, which competes together with radiative processes. From a thorough screening of defects based on first-principles calculations, we identify promising single-photon emitters such as SiVVand spin qubits such as TiVVand MoVVin hexagonal boron nitride. This work provided a complete first-principles theoretical framework for defect design in 2D materials.

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