Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces Laboratory

Synthesis and characterization of the ternary nitride semiconductor Zn2VN3: theoretical prediction, combinatorial screening, and epitaxial stabilization

Zhuk S, Kistanov AA, Boehme SC, Ott N, La Mattina F, Stiefel M, Kovalenko MV & Siol S

Chemistry of Materials, 33(23), 9306-9316. (2021)

Computationally guided high-throughput synthesis is used to explore the Zn–V–N phase space, resulting in the synthesis of a novel ternary nitride Zn2VN3. Following a combinatorial PVD screening, we isolate the phase and synthesize polycrystalline Zn2VN3 thin films with wurtzite structure on conventional borosilicate glass substrates. In addition, we demonstrate that cation-disordered, but phase-pure (002)-textured, Zn2VN3 thin films can be grown using epitaxial stabilization on α-Al2O3 (0001) substrates at remarkably low growth temperatures well below 200 °C. The structural properties and phase composition of the Zn2VN3 films are studied in detail using XRD and (S)TEM techniques. The composition as well as chemical state of the constituent elements are studied using RBS/ERDA and XPS/HAXPES methods. These analyses reveal a stoichiometric material with no oxygen contamination, besides a thin surface oxide. We find that Zn2VN3 is a weakly doped p-type semiconductor demonstrating broad-band room-temperature photoluminescence spanning the range between 2 and 3 eV. In addition, the electronic properties can be tuned over a wide range via isostructural alloying on the cation site, making this a promising material for optoelectronic applications.