Dynamic and structural stability of cubic vanadium nitride
2015 (English)In: Physical Review B. Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, ISSN 1098-0121, E-ISSN 1550-235X, Vol. 91, no 5, 054101- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Structural phase transitions in epitaxial stoichiometric VN/MgO(011) thin films are investigated using temperature-dependent synchrotron x-ray diffraction (XRD), selected-area electron diffraction (SAED), resistivity measurements, high-resolution cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy, and ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD). At room temperature, VN has the B1 NaCl structure. However, below T-c = 250 K, XRD and SAED results reveal forbidden (00l) reflections of mixed parity associated with a noncentrosymmetric tetragonal structure. The intensities of the forbidden reflections increase with decreasing temperature following the scaling behavior I proportional to (T-c - T)(1/2). Resistivity measurements between 300 and 4 K consist of two linear regimes resulting from different electron/phonon coupling strengths in the cubic and tetragonal-VN phases. The VN transport Eliashberg spectral function alpha F-2(tr)(h omega), the product of the phonon density of states F(h omega) and the transport electron/phonon coupling strength alpha(2)(tr)(h omega), is determined and used in combination with AIMD renormalized phonon dispersion relations to show that anharmonic vibrations stabilize the NaCl structure at T greater than T-c. Free-energy contributions due to vibrational entropy, often neglected in theoretical modeling, are essential for understanding the room-temperature stability of NaCl-structure VN, and of strongly anharmonic systems in general.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Physical Society , 2015. Vol. 91, no 5, 054101- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114566DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.91.054101ISI: 000348872600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114566DiVA: diva2:791634
Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council (VR) program [637-2013-7296, 2014-5790, 2009-00971, 2013-4018]; Swedish Government Strategic Research Area Grant in Materials Science [SFO Mat-LiU 2009-00971]; DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory [DE-AC02-06CH11357]2015-03-022015-02-262016-08-31