2024 Theses Doctoral

# Crystal vibrations at finite strain and stress within the generalized quasiharmonic approximation

Vibrations of nuclei in crystals govern various properties such as thermal expansion, phase transitions, and elasticity, and the quasiharmonic approximation (QHA) is the simplest nontrivial approximation which includes the effects of vibrational anharmonicity into temperature dependent observables.

Nonetheless, the QHA is often implemented with additional approximations due to the complexity of computing phonons under arbitrary strains, and the generalized QHA, which employs constant stress boundary conditions, has not been completely developed. Here we formulate the generalized QHA, providing a practical algorithm for computing the strain and other observables as a function of temperature and true stress. We circumvent the complexity of computing phonons under arbitrary strains by employing irreducible second order displacement derivatives of the Born-Oppenheimer potential and their strain dependence, which are efficiently and precisely computed using the lone irreducible derivative approach. We formulate two complementary strain parametrizations: a discretized strain grid interpolation and a Taylor series expansion in symmetrized strain.

We illustrate the quasiharmonic approximation by evaluating the temperature and pressure dependence of select elastic constants and the thermal expansion in thoria (ThO₂) using density functional theory with three exchange-correlation functionals. The convergence of the two complementary strain parametrizations is evaluated for the computed thermal expansion. The temperature dependent lattice parameter and thermal expansion computed within the QHA is compared with experimental measurements. The QHA results are compared to measurements of the elastic constant tensor using time domain Brillouin scattering and inelastic neutron scattering.

We then demonstrate the generalized quasiharmonic approximation in a non-cubic material, ferroelectric lead titanate, computing the temperature and stress dependence of the full elastic constant tensor. The irreducible derivative approach is employed for computing strain dependent phonons using finite difference, explicitly including dipole-quadrupole contributions. We use density functional theory, computing all independent elastic constants and piezoelectric strain coefficients at finite temperature and stress. There is good agreement between the quasiharmonic approximation and the experimentally measured lattice parameters close to 0 K. The quasiharmonic approximation overestimates the measured temperature dependence of the lattice parameters and elastic constant tensor, demonstrating that a higher level of strain dependent anharmonic vibrational theory is needed.

The next material we study is zirconium nitride, employing the quasiharmonic approximation with the irreducible derivative approach to compute the phonons and thermal expansion. Density functional theory is used with two exchange-correlation functionals. We investigate the difference between the measured and computed optical phonon branches, showing that volume effects, two-phonon scattering, and nitrogen vacancies do not explain the discrepancy between the measurement and computation. The temperature dependent lattice parameter is computed within the QHA, where the thermal expansion is overestimated as compared with existing experimental measurements.

## Subjects

## Files

- Mathis_columbia_0054D_18632.pdf application/pdf 1.56 MB Download File

## More About This Work

- Academic Units
- Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
- Thesis Advisors
- Marianetti, Chris A.
- Degree
- Ph.D., Columbia University
- Published Here
- August 28, 2024