Towards visualisation of central-cell-effects in scanning tunnelling microscope images of subsurface dopant qubits in silicon†
Atomic-scale understanding of phosphorus donor wave functions underpins the design and optimisation of silicon based quantum devices. The accuracy of large-scale theoretical methods to compute donor wave functions is dependent on descriptions of central-cell corrections, which are empirically fitted to match experimental binding energies, or other quantities associated with the global properties of the wave function. Direct approaches to understanding such effects in donor wave functions are of great interest. Here, we apply a comprehensive atomistic theoretical framework to compute scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) images of subsurface donor wave functions with two central-cell correction formalisms previously employed in the literature. The comparison between central-cell models based on real-space image features and the Fourier transform profiles indicates that the central-cell effects are visible in the simulated STM images up to ten monolayers below the silicon surface. Our study motivates a future experimental investigation of the central-cell effects via the STM imaging technique with potential of fine tuning theoretical models, which could play a vital role in the design of donor-based quantum systems in scalable quantum computer architectures.