Multiscale approach to the electronic structure of doped semiconductor surfaces

O. Sinai, O.T. Hofmann, Patrick Rinke, M. Scheffler, G. Heimel, L. Kronik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
285 Downloads (Pure)


The inclusion of the global effects of semiconductor doping poses a unique challenge for first-principles simulations, because the typically low concentration of dopants renders an explicit treatment intractable. Furthermore, the width of the space-charge region (SCR) at charged surfaces often exceeds realistic supercell dimensions. Here, we present a multiscale technique that fully addresses these difficulties. It is based on the introduction of a charged sheet, mimicking the SCR-related field, along with free charge which mimics the bulk charge reservoir, such that the system is neutral overall. These augment a slab comprising “pseudoatoms” possessing a fractional nuclear charge matching the bulk doping concentration. Self-consistency is reached by imposing charge conservation and Fermi level equilibration between the bulk, treated semiclassically, and the electronic states of the slab, which are treated quantum-mechanically. The method, called CREST—the charge-reservoir electrostatic sheet technique—can be used with standard electronic structure codes. We validate CREST using a simple tight-binding model, which allows for comparison of its results with calculations encompassing the full SCR explicitly. Specifically, we show that CREST successfully predicts scenarios spanning the range from no to full Fermi level pinning. We then employ it with density functional theory, obtaining insight into the doping dependence of the electronic structures of the metallic “clean-cleaved” Si(111) surface and its semiconducting (2×1) reconstructions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number075311
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • DFT
  • doping
  • electronic structure
  • multiscale
  • space charge region
  • surface science


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