A first-principles study of the electronic structure, surface stability, and band alignment of niobium pentoxide

C. Valencia-Balvín, S. Pérez-Walton, J. Peralta, J. M. Osorio-Guillén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Currently, there is a growing development to find new materials to achieve clean and sustainable energy production, and one of the key processes in this effort is to replace expensive noble element catalysts with less costly transition metal oxides. Niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) is a wide-gap semiconductor with good catalytic properties which makes it an essential material in this kind of technological applications, however, there are no theoretical studies on the surface physical properties for the different phases of this compound. In this work, we have performed first-principles calculations to study the bulk electronic properties and the low-index non-polar surfaces of the B and R crystallographic phases of Nb2O5. We have used a semi-local exchange–correlation functional (PBEsol) along with the GoWo approximation to calculate their gap and band alignments with respect to the vacuum. It has been found that these phases are indirect wide-gap semiconductors, the calculated gaps for B (R) are Eg PBEsol=2.6eV (2.1 eV) and Eg GoWo =4.2eV (3.8 eV). On the other hand, it is established that the most stable surfaces are (010) and (001) for B and R, respectively, and their highest conduction band edges are along the (1̄01) and (100) terminations, both being above the CO2/CH2O2 reduction potential at pH = 7. Our results present clues into utilizing these Nb2O5 phases on technological applications such as photocatalytic uses on water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112536
JournalComputational Materials Science
Volume231
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Band alignment
  • First–principles calculations
  • NbO
  • Surface stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computational Mathematics

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