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Structural and electronic properties of SrZrO3 and Sr(Ti,Zr)O3 alloys


Using hybrid density functional calculations, we study the electronic and structural properties of SrZrO3 and ordered Sr(Ti,Zr)O3 alloys. Calculations were performed for the ground-state orthorhombic (Pnma) and high-temperature cubic (Pm3m) phases of SrZrO3. The variation of the lattice parameters and band gaps with Ti addition was studied using ordered SrTixZr1-xO3 structures with x=0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1. As Ti is added to SrZrO3, the lattice parameter is reduced and closely follows Vegard's law. On the other hand, the band gap shows a large bowing and is highly sensitive to the Ti distribution. For x=0.5, we find that arranging the Ti and Zr atoms into a 1×1SrZrO3/SrTiO3 superlattice along the [001] direction leads to interesting properties, including a highly dispersive single band at the conduction-band minimum (CBM), which is absent in both parent compounds, and a band gap close to that of pure SrTiO3. These features are explained by the splitting of the lowest three conduction-band states due to the reduced symmetry of the superlattice, lowering the band originating from the in-plane Ti 3dxy orbitals. The lifting of the t2g orbital degeneracy around the CBM suppresses scattering due to electron-phonon interactions. Our results demonstrate how short-period SrZrO3/SrTiO3 superlattices could be exploited to engineer the band structure and improve carrier mobility compared to bulk SrTiO3.

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