Assessment of exchange-correlation functionals on oxygen vacancy formation energies of metal oxides

Jiangang He, Bianca Baldassarri, Chris Wolverton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oxygen vacancies are a common defect in oxides and play vital roles in many technological applications such as oxygen separation, catalytic reactors, solid oxide fuel cells, and solar thermochemical water splitting. The oxygen vacancy formation energy is directly related to the oxide reduction enthalpy and the vacancy concentration and, therefore, is a key quantity underlying these applications. The complexity of measuring oxygen vacancy formation energies experimentally suggests the utility of calculations based on density functional theory (DFT). However, the calculated results are strongly dependent on the exchange-correlation functionals and other parameters such as the Hubbard Formula Presented. In this work, we compare the performance of the meta-GGA strongly constrained and appropriately normed (SCAN) functional and the commonly used semilocal generalized gradient approximation (GGA) functionals with experimental values of structural parameters, band gaps, magnetic structures, and oxygen vacancy formation energies for six representative oxides, i.e., Formula Presented, and Formula Presented. Our results show that SCAN usually has better agreement with the experimental lattice constants and band gaps and larger magnetic moments than the commonly used GGA functionals. Although SCAN overestimates the oxygen vacancy formation energies of transition metal oxides and therefore requires unusually large Hubbard Formula Presented values to reproduce the experimental reduction enthalpies, it does predict the correct oxygen vacancy formation energy of Formula Presented, which challenges the commonly used GGA and hybrid functionals. Our results underscore the challenges that exist in describing these complex oxides by DFT and may shed light on developing more accurate exchange-correlation functionals for oxygen vacancy formation energy calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104103
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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