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Ab initio theory of free-carrier absorption in semiconductors
preprintposted on 2023-01-10, 02:34 authored by Xiao Zhang, Guangsha Shi, Joshua A. Leveillee, Feliciano Giustino, Emmanouil Kioupakis
The absorption of light by free carriers in semiconductors results in optical loss for all photon wavelengths. Since free-carrier absorption competes with optical transitions across the band gap, it also reduces the efficiency of optoelectronic devices such as solar cells because it does not generate electron-hole pairs. In this work, we develop a first-principles theory of free-carrier absorption taking into account both single-particle excitations and the collective Drude term, and we demonstrate its application to the case of doped Si. We determine the free-carrier absorption coefficient as a function of carrier concentration and we obtain excellent agreement with experimental data. We identify the dominant processes that contribute to free-carrier absorption at various photon wavelengths, and analyze the results to evaluate the impact of this loss mechanism on the efficiency of Si-based optoelectronic devices.