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Journal Article

Theoretical study of phase stability, crystal and electronic structure of MeMgN2 (Me = Ti, Zr, Hf) compounds


Alling,  Björn
Adaptive Structural Materials (Simulation), Computational Materials Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;
Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Thin Film Physics Division, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden;

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Gharavi, M., Armiento, R., Alling, B., & Eklund, P. (2018). Theoretical study of phase stability, crystal and electronic structure of MeMgN2 (Me = Ti, Zr, Hf) compounds. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics, 53(6), 4294-4305. doi:10.1007/s10853-017-1849-0.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-E7E8-5
Scandium nitride has recently gained interest as a prospective compound for thermoelectric applications due to its high Seebeck coefficient. However, ScN also has a relatively high thermal conductivity, which limits its thermoelectric efficiency and figure of merit (zT). These properties motivate a search for other semiconductor materials that share the electronic structure features of ScN, but which have a lower thermal conductivity. Thus, the focus of our study is to predict the existence and stability of such materials among inherently layered equivalent ternaries that incorporate heavier atoms for enhanced phonon scattering and to calculate their thermoelectric properties. Using density functional theory calculations, the phase stability of TiMgN2, ZrMgN2 and HfMgN2 compounds has been calculated. From the computationally predicted phase diagrams for these materials, we conclude that all three compounds are stable in these stoichiometries. The stable compounds may have one of two competing crystal structures: a monoclinic structure (LiUN2 prototype) or a trigonal superstructure (NaCrS2 prototype; R3 ¯ mH). The band structure for the two competing structures for each ternary is also calculated and predicts semiconducting behavior for all three compounds in the NaCrS2 crystal structure with an indirect band gap and semiconducting behavior for ZrMgN2 and HfMgN2 in the monoclinic crystal structure with a direct band gap. Seebeck coefficient and power factors are also predicted, showing that all three compounds in both the NaCrS2 and the LiUN2 structures have large Seebeck coefficients. The predicted stability of these compounds suggests that they can be synthesized by, e.g., physical vapor deposition. © 2017, The Author(s).