, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 841-859
Date: 13 Sep 2008

Ab initio study of [001] GaN nanowires

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Abstract

We present the results of a study of structural, electronic, and optical properties of the unpassivated and H-passivated GaN nanowires having diameters in the range of 3.29 to 18.33 Å grown along [001] direction by employing the first-principles pseudopotential method within density functional theory in the local density approximation. Two types of nanowires having hexagonal and triangular cross-sections have been investigated. The binding energy increases with the diameter of the nanowire because of a decrease in the relative number of the unsaturated surface bonds. The binding energies of the triangular cross-sectional nanowires are somewhat smaller than those of the hexagonal cross-sectional nanowires in accordance with the Wulff’s rule except the smallest diameter triangular cross-sectional nanowire, where the binding energy is comparable with the corresponding hexagonal cross-sectional nanowires. The band gap varies rapidly with the diameter of the nanowire in the case of the smaller diameter nanowires, and quite slowly for the larger diameter nanowires. After atomic relaxation, appreciable distortion occurs in the nanowires, where the chains of Ga- and N-atoms are curved in different directions. These distortions are reduced with the diameters of the nanowires. The optical absorption in the GaN nanowires is quite strong in the ultra-violet region but an appreciable absorption is also present in the visible region for the larger diameter nanowires. The present results indicate the possibility of engineering the properties of nanowires by manipulating their diameter and surface structure. The presently predicted smaller diameter GaN nanowire possessing the triangular cross-section should be observable in the experiments.