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Mixing thermodynamics and photocatalytic properties of GaP-ZnS solid solutions

Shenoy, J., Hart, J. N., Grau-Crespo, R., Allan, N. L. and Cazorla, C. (2019) Mixing thermodynamics and photocatalytic properties of GaP-ZnS solid solutions. Advanced Theory and Simulations, 2 (3). 1800146. ISSN 2513-0390

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/adts.201800146


Preparation of solid solutions represents an effective means to improve the photocatalytic properties of semiconductor-based materials. Nevertheless, the effects of site-occupancy disorder on the mixing stability and electronic properties of the resulting compounds are difficult to predict and consequently many experimental trials may be required before achieving enhanced photocatalytic activity. Here, we employ first-principles methods based on density functional theory to estimate the mixing free energy and the structural and electronic properties of (GaP)x(ZnS)1-x solid solutions, a representative semiconductor-based optoelectronic material. Our method relies on a multi-configurational supercell approach that takes into account the configurational and vibrational contributions to the free energy. Phase competition among the zinc-blende and wurtzite polymorphs is also considered. We demonstrate overall excellent agreement with the available experimental data: (1) zinc-blende emerges as the energetically most favorable phase, (2) the solid solution energy band gap lies within the 2-3 eV range for all compositions, and (3) the energy band gap of the solid solution is direct for compositions x < 75%. We find that at ambient conditions most (GaP)x(ZnS)1-x solid solutions are slightly unstable against decomposition into GaP- and ZnS-rich regions. Nevertheless, compositions x = 25, 50, and 75% render robust metastable states that owing to their favorable energy band gaps and band levels relative to vacuum are promising hydrogen evolution photocatalysts for water splitting under visible light. The employed theoretical approach provides valuable insights into the physicochemical properties of potential solid-solution photocatalysts and offers useful guides for their experimental realization.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:81059
Uncontrolled Keywords:solid solutions, semiconductors, DFT


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