Publications / Journal Article

Electronic structure of intrinsic defects in c -gallium nitride: Density functional theory study without the jellium approximation

Edwards, Arthur H.; Schultz, Peter A.; Dobzynski, Richard M.

We report the first nonjellium, systematic, density functional theory (DFT) study of intrinsic and extrinsic defects and defect levels in zinc-blende (cubic) gallium nitride. We use the local moment counter charge (LMCC) method, the standard Perdew-Becke-Ernzerhoff (PBE) exchange-correlation potential, and two pseudopotentials, where the Ga 3d orbitals are either in the core (d0) or explicitly in the valence set (d10). We studied 64, 216, 512, and 1000 atom supercells, and demonstrated convergence to the infinite limit, crucial for delineating deep from shallow states near band edges, and for demonstrating the elimination of finite cell-size errors. Contrary to common claims, we find that exact exchange is not required to obtain defect levels across the experimental band gap. As was true in silicon, silicon carbide, and gallium arsenide, the extremal LMCC defect levels of the aggregate of defects yield an effective LMCC defect band gap that is within 10% of the experimental gap (3.3 eV) for both pseudopotentials. We demonstrate that the gallium vacancy is more complicated than previously reported. There is dramatic metastability-a nearest-neighbor nitrogen atom shifts into the gallium site, forming an antisite, nitrogen vacancy pair, which is more stable than the simple vacancy for positive charge states. Our assessment of the d0 and d10 pseudopotentials yields minimal differences in defect structures and defect levels. The better agreement of the d0 lattice constant with experiment suggests that the more computationally economical d0 pseudopotentials are sufficient to achieve the fidelity possible within the physical accuracy of DFT, and thereby enable calculations in larger supercells necessary to demonstrate convergence with respect to finite size supercell errors.