Dominant structural defects in amorphous silicon

P Dagenais and LJ Lewis and S Roorda, JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER, 27, 345004 (2015).

DOI: 10.1088/0953-8984/27/34/345004

The nature of disorder in amorphous silicon (a-Si) is explored by investigating the spatial arrangement and energies of coordination defects in a numerical model. Spatial correlations between structural defects are examined on the basis of a parameter that quantifies the probability for two sites to share a bond. Pentacoordinated atoms are found to be the dominant coordination defects. They show a tendency to cluster, and about 17% of them are linked through three-membered rings. As for tricoordinated sites, they are less numerous, and tend to be distant by at least two bond lengths. Typical local geometries associated to under and overcoordinated atoms are extracted from the model and described using partial bond angle distributions. An estimate of the formation energies of structural defects is provided. Using molecular-dynamics calculations, we simulate the implantation of high- energy atoms in the initial structure in order to study the effect of relaxation on the coordination defects and their environments.

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