Effect of electric field on migration of defects in oxides: Vacancies and interstitials in bulk MgO

Watkins, Matthew (2018) Effect of electric field on migration of defects in oxides: Vacancies and interstitials in bulk MgO. Physical Review B, 98 (6). ISSN 2469-9950

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.98.064102

Effect of electric field on migration of defects in oxides: Vacancies and interstitials in bulk MgO
PhysRevB.98.064102.pdf - Whole Document
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Dielectric layers composed of metal oxides are routinely subjected to external electric fields during the course
of normal operation of electronic devices. Many phenomenological theories suggest that electric fields strongly
affect the properties and mobilities of defects in oxide films and can even facilitate the creation of new defects.
Although defects in metal oxides have been studied extensively both experimentally and theoretically, the effect
of applied electric fields on their structure and migration barriers is not well understood and still remains subject to
speculations. Here, we investigate how static, homogeneous electric fields affect migration barriers of canonical
defects—oxygen vacancies and interstitial ions—in a prototypical oxide, MgO. Using the modern theory of
polarization within density functional theory (DFT), we apply electric fields to defect migration pathways in
three different charge states. The effect of the field is characterized by the change of the dipole moment of the
system along the migration pathway. The largest changes in the calculated barriers are observed for charged
defects, while those for the neutral defects are barely significant. We show that by multiplying the dipole moment
difference between the initial and the transition states, which we define as the effective dipole moment, by the
field strength, one can obtain an estimate of the barrier change in excellent agreement with the DFT calculated
values. These results will help to assess the applicability of phenomenological models and elucidate linear and
nonlinear effects of field application in degradation of microelectronic devices, electrocatalysis, batteries, and
other applications.

Additional Information:Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.
Keywords:Electric field, Microelectronics, Computational modelling
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F343 Computational Physics
F Physical Sciences > F200 Materials Science
F Physical Sciences > F321 Solid state Physics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Mathematics and Physics
ID Code:32946
Deposited On:20 Aug 2018 07:43

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