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Optical Properties and Quasiparticle Band Gaps of Transition-Metal Atoms Encapsulated by Silicon Cages

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journal contribution
posted on 13.03.2014, 00:00 by M. I. A. Oliveira, R. Rivelino, F. de Brito Mota, G. K. Gueorguiev
Semiconductors assembled upon nanotemplates consisting of metal-encapsulating Si cage clusters (M@Sin) have been proposed as prospective materials for nanodevices. To make an accurate and systematic prediction of the optical properties of such M@Sin clusters, which represent a new type of metal–silicon hybrid material for components in nanoelectronics, we have performed first-principles calculations of the electronic properties and quasiparticle band gaps for a variety of M@Si12 (M = Ti, Cr, Zr, Mo, Ru, Pd, Hf, and Os) and M@Si16 (M = Ti, Zr, and Hf) clusters. At first stage, the electronic structure calculations have been performed within plane-wave density functional theory in order to predict equilibrium geometries, polarizabilities, and optical absorption spectra of these endohedral cagelike clusters. The quasiparticle calculations were performed within the GW approximation, which predict that all of these systems are semiconductors exhibiting large band gaps. The present results have demonstrated that the independent-particle absorption spectra of M@Sin, calculated within the local density or generalized gradient approximations to density functional theory, are dramatically influenced by many-body effects. On average, the quasiparticle band gaps were significantly increased, in comparison with the independent-particle gaps, giving values in the 2.45–5.64 eV range. Consequently, the inclusion of many-body effects in the electron–electron interaction, and going beyond the mean-field approximation of independent particles, might be essential to realistically describe the optical spectra of isolated M@Sin clusters, as well as their cluster-assembled materials.