Phase diagram of grain boundary facet and line junctions in silicon

M Alam and L Lymperakis and J Neugebauer, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 4, 083604 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.4.083604

The presence of facets and line junctions connecting facets on grain boundaries (GBs) has a strong impact on the properties of structural, functional, and optoelectronic materials: They govern the mobility of interfaces, the segregation of impurities, as well the electronic properties. In the present paper, we employ density-functional theory and modified embedded atom method calculations to systematically investigate the energetics and thermodynamic stability of these defects. As a prototype system, we consider E3 tilt GBs in Si. By analyzing the energetics of different faceted GBs, we derive a diagram that describes and predicts the reconstruction of these extended defects as a function of facet length and boundary inclination angle. The phase diagram sheds light upon the fundamental mechanisms causing GB faceting phenomena. It demonstrates that the properties of faceting are not determined solely by anisotropic GB energies but by a complex interplay between geometry and microstructure, boundary energies as well as long-range strain interactions.

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