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Novel metal-encapsulated caged clusters of silicon and germanium
Published in
Volume: 24
Issue: 1-3
Pages: 227 - 232
We report the recent findings of metal (M) encapsulated clusters of silicon from computer experiments based on ab initio total energy calculations and a cage shrinkage and atom removal approach, Our results show that using a guest atom, it is possible to wrap silicon in fullerenelike (f) structures, as sp2 bonding is not favorable to produce empty cages unlike for carbon. Transition M atoms have a strong bonding with the silicon cage that are responsible for the compact structures. The size and structure of the cage change from 14 to 20 Si atoms depending upon the size and valence of the M atom. Fewer Si atoms lead to relatively open structures. We find cubic, f, Frank-Kasper (FK) polyheral type, decahedral, icosahedral and hexagonal structures for M@Sin with n = 12-16 and several different M atoms. The magic behavior of 15 and 16 atom Si cages is in agreement with experiments. The FK polyhedral cluster, M@Si16 has an exceptionally large density functional gap of about 2.35 eV calculated within the generalized gradient approximation. It is likely to give rise to visible luminescence in these clusters. The cluster-cluster interaction is weak that makes such clusters attractive for cluster assembled materials. Further studies to stabilize Si 20 cage with M = Zr, Ba, Sr and Pb show that in all cases there is a distortion of the f cage. Similar studies on M encapsulated germanium clusters show FK polyhedral and decahedral isomers to be more favorable. Also perfect icosahedral M@Ge12 and M@Sn12 clusters have been obtained with large gaps by doping with divalent M atoms. Recent results of the H interaction with these clusters, hydrogenated silicon fullerenes as well as assemblies of clusters such as nanowires and nanotubes are briefly presented.
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