Mohamed Fadlallah
Transport properties of metal-metal and metal-insulator heterostructures
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Eckern [Theoretical physics II]
Date of oral examination: 06/09/2010
127 pages, english
In this study we present results of electronic structure and transport calculations for metallic and metal-insulator interfaces, based on density functional theory and the non-equilibrium Green's function method. Starting from the electronic structure of bulk Al, Cu, Ag, and Au interfaces, we study the effects of different kinds of interface roughness on the transmission coefficient (T(E)) and the I-V characteristic. In particular, we compare prototypical interface distortions, including vacancies, metallic impurities, non-metallic impurities, interlayer, and interface alloy. We find that vacancy sites have a huge effect on transmission coefficient. The transmission coefficient of non-metallic impurity systems has the same behaviour as the transmission coefficient of vacancy system, since these systems do not contribute to the electronic states at the Fermi energy. We have also studied the transport properties of Au-MgO-Au tunnel junctions. In particular, we have investigated the influence of the thickness of the MgO interlayer, the interface termination, the interface spacing, and O vacancies. Additional interface states appear in the O-terminated configuration due to the formation of Au-O bonds. An increasing interface spacing suppresses the Au-O bonding. Enhancement of T(E) depends on the position and density of the vacancies (the number of vacancies per unit cell).