Metallic to insulating nature of TaNx: Role of Ta and N vacancies

C. Stampfl*, Arthur J Freeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


It has been demonstrated recently that the stoichiometry of rocksalt TaN can be tuned by N2 pressure and temperature, yielding material that ranges from highly conductive to insulating. Using density functional theory, we investigate the atomic and electronic structure and formation energy of defective TaN structures. The calculations predict that Ta and N vacancies form under N-rich and N-poor conditions, respectively, where the presence of Ta vacancies reduce the density of states (DOS) around the Fermi level (EF). We also studied the Ta4N5 and Ta3N5 structures which occur in nature. The former phase, consisting of an ordered arrangement of Ta vacancies, also exhibits a notable decrease in the DOS at EF, while the latter is a semiconductor with a band gap of 1.5 eV within the local density approximation. Our results suggest that the formation of Tadeficient structures is directly related to the metal-to-insulator transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064108
Pages (from-to)641081-641087
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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