Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Carey, John, J.; Nolan, Michael
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Non-classical behaviour of higher valence dopants in chromium (III) oxide by a Cr vacancy compensation mechanism
WOS: 1 ()
Optional Fields
Density functional theory Charge compensation Non classical mechanism Chromium oxide Metal doping Vacancy formation
Modification of metal oxides with dopants that have a stable oxidation in their parent oxides which is higher than the host system is expected to introduce extra electrons into the material to improve carrier mobility. This is essential for applications in catalysis, SOFCs and solar energy materials. Density functional theory calculations are used to investigate the change in electronic and geometric structure of chromium (III) oxide by higher valence dopants, namely; Ce, Ti, V and Zr. For single metal doping, we find that the dopants with variable oxidation states, Ce, Ti and V, adopt a valence state of  +3, while Zr dopant has a  +4 oxidation state and reduces a neighbouring Cr cation. Chromium vacancy formation is greatly enhanced for all dopants, and favoured over oxygen vacancy formation. The Cr vacancies generate holes which oxidise Ce, Ti and V from  +3 to  +4, while also oxidising lattice oxygen sites. For Zr doping, the generated holes oxidise the reduced Cr2+ cation back to Cr3+ and also two lattice oxygen atoms. Three metal atoms in the bulk lattice facilitate spontaneous Cr vacancy from charge compensation. A non-classical compensation mechanism is observed for Ce, Ti and V; all three metals are oxidised from  +3 to  +4, which explains experimental observations that these metals have a  +4 oxidation state in Cr2O3. Charge compensation of the three Zr metals proceeds by a classical higher valence doping mechanism; the three dopants reduce three Cr cations, which are subsequently charge compensated by a Cr vacancy oxidising three Cr2+ to Cr3+. The compensated structures are the correct ground state electronic structure for these doped systems, and used as a platform to investigate cation/anion vacancy formation. Unlike the single metal doped bulks, preference is now given for oxygen vacancy formation over Cr vacancy formation, indicating that the dopants increase the reducibility of Cr2O3 with Ce doping showing the strongest enhancement. The importance of the correct ground state in determining the formation of defects is emphasised.
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