Thin Film Synthesis of Semiconductors in the Mg-Sb-N Materials System

Karen Heinselman, Andriy Zakutayev, Stephan Lany, Kevin Talley, John Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus Citations


Nitrides feature many interesting properties, such as a wide range of bandgaps suitable for optoelectronic devices including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and piezoelectric response used in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Nitrides are also significantly underexplored compared to oxides and other chemistries, with many being thermochemically metastable, sparking interest from a basic science point of view. This paper reports on experimental and computational exploration of the Mg-Sb-N material system, featuring both metastable materials and semiconducting properties. Using sputter deposition, we discovered a new Mg2SbN3 nitride with a wurtzite-derived crystal structure and synthesized the antimonide-nitride Mg3SbN with an antiperovskite crystal structure for the first time in thin film form. Theoretical calculations indicate that Mg2SbN3 is metastable and has properties relevant to LEDs and MEMS, whereas Mg3SbN has a large dielectric constant (28ϵ0) and low hole effective masses (0.9m0), of interest for photovoltaic solar cell absorbers. The experimental solar-matched 1.3 eV optical absorption onset of the Mg3SbN antiperovskite agrees with the theoretical prediction (1.3 eV direct, 1.1 eV indirect), and with the measurements of room-temperature near-bandgap photoluminescence. These results make an important contribution toward understanding semiconductor properties and chemical trends in the Mg-Sb-N materials system, paving the way to future practical applications of these novel materials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8717-8724
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-74199


  • antimonides
  • antiperovskite
  • combinatorial
  • nitrides
  • RF sputtering


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