Defect Engineering and Interface Phenomena in Tin Oxide

  • Arwa Albar

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The advance in transparent electronics requires high-performance transparent conducting oxide materials. The microscopic properties of these materials are sensitive to the presence of defects and interfaces and thus fundamental understanding is required for materials engineering. In this thesis, first principles density functional theory is used to investigate the possibility of tuning the structural, electronic and magnetic properties of tin oxide by means of defects and interfaces. Our aim is to reveal unique properties and the parameters to control them as well as to explain the origin of unique phenomena in oxide materials. The stability of native defect in tin monoxide (SnO) under strain is investigated using formation energy calculations. We find that the conductivity (which is controlled by native defects) can be switched from p-type to either n-type or undoped semiconducting by means of applied pressure. We then target inducing magnetism in SnO by 3d transition metal doping. We propose that V doping is efficient to realize spin polarization at high temperature. We discuss different tin oxide interfaces. Metallic states are found to form at the SnO/SnO2 interface with electronic properties that depend on the interface terminations. The origin of these states is explained in terms of charge transfer caused by chemical bonding and band alignment. For the SnO/SnO2 heterostructure, we observe the formation of a two dimensional hole gas at the interface, which is surprising as it cannot be explained by the standard polar catastrophe model. Thus, we propose a charge density discontinuity model to explain our results. The model can be generalized to other polar-polar interfaces. Motivated by technological applications, the electronic and structural properties of the MgO (100)/SnO2 (110) interface are investigated. Depending on the interface termination, we observe the formation of a two dimensional electron gas or spin polarized hole gas. Aiming to identify further key parameters, we examine O deficient LaAlO3/SrTiO3 (110) and (001) superlattices under hydrostatic pressure. Presence of O vacancies results in formation of a two-dimensional electron gas, for which we observe a distinct spatial pattern of carrier density that depends strongly on the amount of applied pressure.
Date of AwardApr 5 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorUdo Schwingenschloegl (Supervisor)


  • Ab-initio
  • Oxides
  • Defects
  • Interfaces

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