Optical absorption and band gap reduction in (Fe1- XCr x)2O3 solid solutions: A first-principles study

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We provide a detailed theoretical analysis of the character of optical transitions and band gap reduction in (Fe1-xCrx) 2O3 solid solutions using extensive periodic model and embedded cluster calculations. Time-dependent density functional theory is used to calculate and assign optical absorption bands for x = 0.0, 0.5, and 1.0 and photon energies up to 5 eV. Consistent with recent experimental data, a band gap reduction of as much as 0.7 eV with respect to that of pure α-Fe 2O3 is found. This result is attributed predominantly to two effects: (i) the higher valence band edge for x ≈ 0.5, as compared to those in pure α-Fe2O3 and α-Cr 2O3, and (ii) the onset of Cr → Fe d-d excitations in the solid solutions. Broadening of the valence band due to hybridization of O 2p with Fe and Cr 3d states also contributes to band gap reduction. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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Journal of Physical Chemistry C

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