Publications / Journal Article

Electronic structure of intrinsic defects in crystalline germanium telluride

Edwards, Arthur H.; Pineda, Andrew C.; Schultz, Peter A.; Martin, Marcus G.; Thompson, Aidan P.; Hjalmarson, Harold P.; Umrigar, Cyrus J.

Germanium telluride undergoes rapid transition between polycrystalline and amorphous states under either optical or electrical excitation. While the crystalline phases are predicted to be semiconductors, polycrystalline germanium telluride always exhibits p -type metallic conductivity. We present a study of the electronic structure and formation energies of the vacancy and antisite defects in both known crystalline phases. We show that these intrinsic defects determine the nature of free-carrier transport in crystalline germanium telluride. Germanium vacancies require roughly one-third the energy of the other three defects to form, making this by far the most favorable intrinsic defect. While the tellurium antisite and vacancy induce gap states, the germanium counterparts do not. A simple counting argument, reinforced by integration over the density of states, predicts that the germanium vacancy leads to empty states at the top of the valence band, thus giving a complete explanation of the observed p -type metallic conduction.