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Electronic Structure and Phonon Thermodynamics of Iron Alloys


Muñoz, Jorge Alberto (2013) Electronic Structure and Phonon Thermodynamics of Iron Alloys. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7EJD-RP70.


Inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and nuclear-resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (NRIXS) were used to measure phonon spectra of FeV as a B2- ordered compound and as a bcc solid solution. Contrary to the behavior of ordering alloys studied to date, the phonons in the B2-ordered phase are softer than in the solid solution. Ordering increases the vibrational entropy, which stabilizes the ordered phase to higher temperatures. Ab initio calculations show that the number of electronic states at the Fermi level increases upon ordering, enhancing the screening between ions, and reducing the interatomic force constants. The effect of screening is larger at the V atomic sites than at the Fe atomic sites.

The phonon spectra of Au-rich alloys of fcc Au-Fe were also measured. The main effect on the vibrational entropy of alloying comes from a stiffening of the Au partial phonon density of states (DOS) with Fe concentration that increases the miscibility gap temperature. The magnitude of the effect is non- linear and it is reduced at higher Fe concentrations. Force constants were calculated for several compositions and show a local stiffening of Au–Au bonds close to Fe atoms, but Au–Au bonds that are farther away do not show this effect. Phonon DOS curves calculated from the force constants reproduced the experimental trends. The Au–Fe bond is soft and favors ordering, but a charge transfer from the Fe to the Au atoms stiffens the Au–Au bonds enough to favor unmixing. The stiffening is attributed to two main effects comparable in magnitude: an increase in electron density in the free-electron-like states, and stronger sd-hybridization.

INS and NRIXS measurements were performed at elevated temperatures on B2-ordered FeTi and NRIXS measurements were performed at high pressures. The high-pressure behavior is quasi- harmonic. The softening of the phonon DOS curves with temperature is strongly nonharmonic. Calculations of the force constants and Born-von Karman fits to the experimental data show that the bonds between second nearest neighbors (2nn) are much stiffer than those between 1nn, but fits to the high temperature data show that the former softens at a faster rate with temperature. The Fe–Fe bond softens more than the Ti–Ti bond. The unusual stiffness of the 2nn bond is explained by the calculated charge distribution, which is highly aspherical and localized preferentially in the t2g orbitals. Ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations show a charge transfer from the t2g orbitals to the eg orbitals at elevated temperatures. The asphericity decreases linearly with temperature and is more severe at the Fe sites.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:phonon thermodynamics; electron-phonon interaction; electronic structure;
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Materials Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Fultz, Brent T.
Thesis Committee:
  • Fultz, Brent T. (chair)
  • Goddard, William A., III
  • Greer, Julia R.
  • Johnson, William Lewis
Defense Date:20 May 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05312013-184738559
Persistent URL:
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Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7810
Deposited By: Jorge Munoz
Deposited On:12 Jun 2013 17:58
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:01

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