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With many technologies and applications downscaling to nanometer dimensions, the influence of single point defects on electronic structure has shown an increasingly profound impact on optical and electrical properties, and advancing fundamental understanding is critical to defect engineering and control of materials properties. In the present study, first-principles calculations based on density functional theory (DFT) are carried out to study the effects of Ti point defects on the electronic structure of Y2Ti2O7. In the literature, it has been demonstrated that conventional DFT tends to produce delocalized holes and electrons in defective oxide materials due to insufficient cancellation of the self-interaction energy and underestimation of the band gap, which results in an incorrect description of the electronic structure of the system. In an effort to better understand the accuracy of DFT in describing the behavior of Y2Ti2O7 with point defects, the calculated results obtained from DFT and DFT+U methods are compared, including the geometrical distortion, the localization of the defect states and the position of the defect levels in the band gap. Using DFT, distorted geometries around the Ti vacancy and interstitial are found, along with localized oxygen holes and Ti electrons, both of which compare well with the DFT+U results, suggesting that the conventional DFT can be used to describe the localization of the Ti defects in Y2Ti2O7. One major difference in the DFT and DFT+U calculations is the energy position of the defect levels, for which DFT+U results in the states positioned deep in the band gap. Since the DFT+U method suffers from the dependence of the results on the empirical parameter U and no experimental results on the energy position of the defect states are available to tune this U value, care must be taken in applying DFT+U to electronic structure calculations of Y2Ti2O7 with point defects. Based on the DFT method, the most preferred charge state is determined by the formation energies for charged point defects. Moving the Fermi level across the band gap has slight effects on the charge state, and the Ti vacancy and interstitial are found to be in −4 and +4 charge states, respectively.
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