Consequences of Schottky and Frenkel defects

Consequences of Schottky and Frenkel Defects

Presence of large number of Schottky defect lowers the density of the crystal. When Frenkel defect alone is present, there is no decrease in density. The closeness of the charge brought about by Frenkel defect tends to increase the dielectric constant of the crystal. Compounds having such defect conduct electricity to a small extent. When electric field is applied, an ion moves from its lattice site to occupy a hole, it creates a new hole. In this way, a hole moves from one end to the other. Thus, it conducts electricity across the crystal. Due to the presence of holes, stability (or the lattice energy) of the crystal decreases.


(ii) Non-stoichiometric defects: The defects which disturb the stoichiometry of the compounds are called non-stoichiometry defects. These defects are either due to the presence of excess metal ions or deficiency of metal ions.

(a)  Metal excess defects due to anion vacancies: A compound may have excess metal anion if a negative ion is absent from its lattice site, leaving a  ‘hole’, which is occupied by electron to maintain electrical neutrality. This type of defects are found in crystals which are likely to possess Schottky defects. Anion vacancies in alkali metal halides are reduced by heating the alkali metal halides crystals in an atmosphere of alkali metal vapours. The ‘holes’ occupy by electrons are called F-centres (or colour centres).

(b)  Metal excess defects due to interstitial cations: Another way in which metal excess defects may occur is, if an extra positive ion is present in an interstitial site. Electrical neutrality is maintained by the presence of an electron in the interstitial site. This type of defects are exhibit by the crystals which are likely to exhibit Frenkel defects e.g., when ZnO is heated, it loses oxygen reversibly. The excess is accommodated in interstitial sites, with electrons trapped in the neighborhood. The yellow colour and the electrical conductivity of the non-stoichiometric ZnO is due to these trapped electrons.

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