Ab initio description of oxygen vacancies in epitaxially strained SrTiO 3 at finite temperatures
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Epitaxially grown SrTiO3 (STO) thin films are material enablers for a number of critical energy-conversion and information-storage technologies like electrochemical electrode coatings, solid oxide fuel cells and random access memories. Oxygen vacancies (VO), on the other hand, are key defects to understand and tailor many of the unique functionalities realized in oxide perovskite thin films. Here, we present a comprehensive and technically sound ab initio description of VO in epitaxially strained (001) STO thin films. The novelty of our first-principles study lies in the incorporation of lattice thermal excitations on the formation energy and diffusion properties of VO over wide epitaxial strain conditions (-4=¿=+4%). We found that thermal lattice excitations are necessary to obtain a satisfactory agreement between first-principles calculations and the available experimental data for the formation energy of VO. Furthermore, it is shown that thermal lattice excitations noticeably affect the energy barriers for oxygen ion diffusion, which strongly depend on ¿ and are significantly reduced (increased) under tensile (compressive) strain. The present work demonstrates that for a realistic theoretical description of oxygen vacancies in STO thin films is necessary to consider lattice thermal excitations, thus going beyond standard zero-temperature ab initio approaches.
CitationZhou, Z.; Chu, D.; Cazorla, C. Ab initio description of oxygen vacancies in epitaxially strained SrTiO 3 at finite temperatures. "Scientific reports", 1 Juny 2021, vol. 11, núm. 11499.