Unified theory of electron–phonon renormalization and phonon-assisted optical absorption
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter
We present a theory of electronic excitation energies and optical absorption spectra which incorporates energy-level renormalization and phonon-assisted optical absorption within a unified framework. Using time-independent perturbation theory we show how the standard approaches for studying vibronic effects in molecules and those for addressing electron-phonon interactions in solids correspond to slightly different choices for the non-interacting Hamiltonian. Our present approach naturally
... to the Allen-Heine theory of temperature-dependent energy levels, the Franck-Condon principle, the Herzberg-Teller effect and to phonon-assisted optical absorption in indirect band gap materials. In addition, our theory predicts sub-gap phonon-assisted optical absorption in direct gap materials, as well as an exponential edge which we tentatively assign to the Urbach tail. We also consider a semiclassical approach to the calculation of optical absorption spectra which simultaneously captures energy-level renormalization and phonon-assisted transitions and is especially suited to first-principles electronic structure calculations. We demonstrate this approach by calculating the phonon-assisted optical absorption spectrum of bulk silicon.