Gold hyperdoped silicon exhibits room temperature sub band gap optical absorption, with potential applications as infrared absorbers/detectors and impurity band photovoltaics. We use first-principles density functional theory to establish the origins of the sub band gap response. Substitutional gold AuSi and substitutional dimers AuSi - AuSi are found to be the energetically preferred defect configurations, and AuSi gives rise to partially filled mid-gap defect bands well offset from the band edges. AuSi is predicted to offer substantial sub-band gap absorption, exceeding that measured in prior experiments by two orders of magnitude for similar Au concentration. This suggests that in experimentally realized systems, in addition to AuSi, the implanted gold is accommodated by the lattice in other ways, including other defect complexes and gold precipitates. We further identify that it is energetically favorable for isolated AuSi to form AuSi - AuSi, which by contrast do not exhibit mid-gap states. The formation of dimers and other complexes could serve as nuclei in the earliest stages of Au precipitation, which may be responsible for the observed rapid deactivation of sub-band gap response upon annealing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)