Vanadium and tantalum doping of tin dioxide: a theoretical study

Petros-Panagis Filippatos, Nikolaos Kelaidis, Maria Vasilopoulou, Alexander Chroneos

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The increasing demand of efficient optoelectronic devices such as photovoltaics has created a great research interest in methods to manipulate the electronic and optical properties of all the layers of the device. Tin dioxide (SnO2), due to his charge transport capability, high stability and easy fabrication is the main electron transport layer in modern photovoltaics which have achieved a record efficiency. While the wide band gap of SnO2 makes it an effective electron transport layer, its potential for other energy applications such as photocatalysis is limited. To further improve is conductivity and reduce its bandgap, doping or co-doping with various elements has been proposed. In the present density functional theory (DFT) study, we focus on the investigation of vanadium (V) and tantalum (Ta) doped SnO2 both in the bulk and the surface. Here we focus on interstitial and substitutional doping aiming to leverage these modifications to enhance the density of states for energy application. These changes also have the potential to influence the optical properties of the material, such as absorption, and make SnO2 more versatile for photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications. The calculations show the formation of gap states near the band edges which are beneficial for the electron transition and in the case of Ta doping the lowest bandgap value is achieved. Interestingly, in the case of Ta interstitial, deep trap states are formed which depending of the application could be advantageous. Regarding the optical properties, we found that V doping significantly increases the refractive index of SnO2 while the absorption is generally improved in all the cases. Lastly, we investigate the electronic properties of the (110) surface of SnO2, and we discuss possible other applications due to surface doping. The present work highlights the importance of V and Ta doping for energy applications and sensor applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20983
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2023

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The open access fee was paid from the Imperial College London Open Access Fund. Publisher Copyright: © 2023, The Author(s).


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