American Chemical Society
ao0c01985_si_001.mp4 (1.4 MB)

Intercalation of Au Atoms into SiC(0001)/Buffer Interfaces–A First-Principles Density Functional Theory Study

Download (1.4 MB)
posted on 2020-06-11, 21:14 authored by Amirhossein Bayani, Karin Larsson
The process of Au intercalation into a SiC/buffer interface has been theoretically investigated here by using density functional theory (DFT) and the nudged elastic band (NEB) method. Energy barriers were at first calculated (using NEB) for the transfer of an Au atom through a free-standing graphene sheet. The graphene sheet was either of a nondefect character or with a defect in the form of an enlarged hexagonal carbon ring. Defects in the form of single and double vacancies were also considered. Besides giving a qualitative prediction of the relative energy barriers for the corresponding SiC/buffer interfaces, some of the graphene calculations also proved evidence of energy minima close to the graphene sheet. The most stable Au positions within the SiC/buffer interface were, therefore, calculated by performing geometry optimization with Au in the vicinity of the buffer layer. Based on these NEB and DFT calculations, two factors were observed to have a great influence on the Au intercalation process: (i) energy barrier and (ii) preferential bonding of Au to the radical C atoms at the edges of the vacancies. The energy barriers were considerably smaller in the presence of vacancies. However, the Au atoms preferred to bind to the edge atoms of these vacancies when approaching the buffer layer. It can thereby be concluded that the Au intercalation will only occur for a nondefect buffer layer when using high temperature and/or by using high-energy impacts by Au atoms. For this type of Au intercalation, the buffer layer will become completely detached from the SiC surface, forming a single layer of graphene with an intact Dirac point.