Ab-initio simulations of pressure effects on structural and electronic properties of iron based superconductors

The ab-initio molecular dynamics framework has been the cornerstone of computational solid state physics in the last few decades. Although it is already a mature field it is still rapidly developing to accommodate the gr
The ab-initio molecular dynamics framework has been the cornerstone of computational solid state physics in the last few decades. Although it is already a mature field it is still rapidly developing to accommodate the growth in solid state research as well as to efficiently utilize the increase in computing power. Starting from the first principles, the ab-initio molecular dynamics provides essential information about structural and electronic properties of matter under various external conditions. In this thesis we use the ab-initio molecular dynamics to study the behavior of BaFe2As2 and CaFe2As2 under the application of external pressure. BaFe2As2 and CaFe2As2 belong to the family of iron based superconductors which are a novel and promising superconducting materials. The application of pressure is one of two key methods by which electronic and structural properties of iron based superconductors can be modified, the other one being doping (or chemical pressure). In particular, it has been noted that pressure conditions have an important effect, but their exact role is not fully understood. To better understand the effect of different pressure conditions we have performed a series of ab-initio simulations of pressure application. In order to apply the pressure with arbitrary stress tensor we have developed a method based on the Fast Inertial Relaxation Engine, whereby the unit cell and the atomic positions are evolved according to the metadynamical equations of motion. We have found that the application of hydrostatic and c axis uniaxial pressure induces a phase transition from the magnetically ordered orthorhombic phase to the non-magnetic collapsed tetragonal phase in both BaFe2As2 and CaFe2As2. In the case of BaFe2As2, an intermediate tetragonal non-magnetic tetragonal phase is observed in addition. Application of the uniaxial pressure parallel to the c axis reduces the critical pressure of the phase transition by an order of magnitude, in agreement with the experimental findings. The in-plane pressure application did not result in transition to the non-magnetic tetragonal phase and instead, rotation of the magnetic order direction could be observed. This is discussed in the context of Ginzburg-Landau theory. We have also found that the magnetostructural phase transition is accompanied by a change in the Fermi surface topology, whereby the hole cylinders centered around the Gamma point disappear, restricting the possible Cooper pair scattering channels in the tetragonal phase. Our calculations also permit us to estimate the bulk moduli and the orthorhombic elastic constants of BaFe2As2 and CaFe2As2.
To study the electronic structure in systems with broken translational symmetry, such as doped iron based superconductors, it is necessary to develop a method to unfold the complicated bandstructures arising from the supercell calculations. In this thesis we present the unfolding method based on group theoretical techniques. We achieve the unfolding by employing induced irreducible representations of space groups. The unique feature of our method is that it treats the point group operations on an equal footing with the translations. This permits us to unfold the bandstructures beyond the limit of translation symmetry and also formulate the tight-binding models of reduced dimensionality if certain conditions are met. Inclusion of point group operations in the unfolding formalism allows us to reach important conclusions about the two versus one iron picture in iron based superconductors.
And finally, we present the results of ab-initio structure prediction in the cases of giant volume collapse in MnS2 and alkaline doped picene. In the case of MnS2, a previously unobserved high pressure arsenopyrite structure of MnS2 is predicted and stability regions for the two competing metastable phases under pressure are determined. In the case of alkaline doped picene, crystal structures with different levels of doping were predicted and used to study the role of electronic correlations.
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Author:Milan Tomic
Referee:Roser Valentí, Peter Hirschfeld
Advisor:Roser Valentí
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2015/02/26
Year of first Publication:2014
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2014/12/16
Release Date:2015/02/26
Last Page:142
HeBIS PPN:355770024
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physik
Licence (German):License Logo Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen

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