American Chemical Society
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First-Principles Band Alignments at the Si:Anatase TiO2 Interface

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posted on 2023-05-22, 22:03 authored by Yide Chang, Jonathan R. Yates, Christopher E. Patrick
TiO2 has been identified as a promising electron transport layer in Si solar cells. Experiments have revealed that the Si:TiO2 interface undergoes structural changes depending on how it was fabricated. However, less is understood about the sensitivity of electronic properties, such as band alignments, to these changes. Here, we present first-principles calculations of band alignments between Si and anatase TiO2, investigating different surface orientations and terminations. By calculating vacuum-level alignments, we observe a large band offset reduction of 2.5 eV for the O-terminated Si slab compared to other terminations. Furthermore, a 0.5 eV increase is found for the anatase (101) surface compared to (001). We compare the band offsets obtained through vacuum alignment with four different heterostructure models. Even though the heterostructure models contain an excess of oxygen, their offsets agree well with vacuum-level alignments using stoichiometric or H-terminated slabs, and the reduction in band offsets seen for the O-terminated Si slab is not observed. Additionally, we have investigated different exchange-correlation treatments including PBE + U, postprocessing GW corrections, and the meta-GGA rSCAN functional. We find that rSCAN provides more accurate band offsets than PBE, but further corrections are still required to achieve <0.5 eV accuracy. Overall, our study quantifies the importance of surface termination and orientation for this interface.