Charged point defects in semiconductors

Edmund G. Seebauer, Meredith C. Kratzer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Native point defects control many aspects of semiconductor behavior. Such defects can be electrically charged, both in the bulk and on the surface. This charging can affect numerous defect properties such as structure, thermal diffusion rates, trapping and recombination rates for electrons and holes, and luminescence quenching rates. Charging also introduces new phenomena such as nonthermally photostimulated diffusion, thereby offering distinctive mechanisms for defect engineering. The present work incorporates the first comprehensive account of semiconductor defect charging, identifying correspondences and contrasts between surfaces and the bulk as well as among semiconductor classes (group IV, groups III-V, and metal oxides). For example, small lattice parameters, close-packed unit cells, and basis atoms with large atomic radii all inhibit the formation of ionized interstitials and antisites. The charged defects that exist in III-V and oxide semiconductors can be predicted with surprising accuracy from the chemical potential and oxygen partial pressure of the ambient. The symmetry-lowering relaxations, formation energies, and diffusion mechanisms of bulk and surface defect structures often depend strongly on charge state with similar qualitative behavior, although for a given material surface defects do not typically take on the same configurations or range of stable charge states as their counterparts in the bulk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-149
Number of pages93
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering R: Reports
Issue number3-6
StatePublished - Dec 15 2006


  • Defect levels
  • Diffusion
  • Point defects
  • Semiconductor
  • Surface defects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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