Structural evolution of the Pb/Si(111) interface with metal overlayer thickness

Jaime Souto-Casares, Anthony T L CHAN, James R. Chelikowsky, Kai Ming Ho, Cai Zhuang Wang, S. B. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We employ a real-space pseudopotential method to compute the structural energies of a prototypical metal-semiconductor interface. Specifically, we examine a Pb(111) film overlaid on a Si(111) substrate as a function of the metal thickness. For each layer of Pb, we fully relax the atomic coordinates and determine the lowest-energy structure. Owing to the lattice mismatch between the Pb and Si crystal structures, we consider a large supercell containing up to 1505 atoms for the largest system. Systems of this size remain challenging for most current computational approaches and require algorithms specifically designed for highly parallel computational platforms. We examine the structural properties of the interface with respect to the thickness of the metal overlayer, e.g., the corrugation of the profile of the Pb overlayer. The combined influence of the Si substrate and quantum confinement results in a rich profile for a transition between a thin overlayer (less than a few monolayers), where the corrugation is strong, and the bulk region (more than a half-dozen layers), where the overlaid Pb film is atomically flat. This work proves the feasibility of handling systems with such a level of complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number094103
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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