First-principles study of configurational disorder in B4C using a superatom-special quasirandom structure method
2014 (English)In: Physical Review B. Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, ISSN 1098-0121, E-ISSN 1550-235X, Vol. 90, no 2, 024204Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Configurationally disordered crystalline boron carbide, with the composition B4C, is studied using first-principles calculations. We investigate both dilute and high concentrations of carbon-boron substitutional defects. For the latter purpose, we suggest a superatoms picture of the complex structure and combine it with a special quasirandom structure approach for disorder. In this way, we model a random distribution of high concentrations of the identified low-energy defects: (1) bipolar defects and (2) rotation of icosahedral carbon among the three polar-up sites. Additionally, the substitutional disorder of the icosahedral carbon at all six polar sites, as previously discussed in the literature, is also considered. Two configurational phase transitions from the ordered to the disordered configurations are predicted to take place upon an increase in temperature using a mean-field approximation for the entropy. The first transition, at 870 K, induces substitutional disorder of the icosahedral carbon atoms among the three polar-up sites; meanwhile the second transition, at 2325 K, reveals the random substitution of the icosahedral carbon atoms at all six polar sites coexisting with bipolar defects. Already the first transition removes the monoclinic distortion existing in the ordered ground-state configuration and restore the rhombohedral system (R3m). The restoration of inversion symmetry yielding the full rhombohedral symmetry (R (3) over barm) on average, corresponding to what is reported in the literature, is achieved after the second transition. Investigating the effects of high pressure on the configurational stability of the disordered B4C phases reveals a tendency to stabilize the ordered ground-state configuration as the configurationally ordering/disordering transition temperature increases with pressure exerted on B4C. The electronic density of states, obtained from the disordered phases, indicates a sensitivity of the band gap to the degree of configurational disorder in B4C.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Physical Society , 2014. Vol. 90, no 2, 024204
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109591DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.90.024204ISI: 000339481700003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-109591DiVA: diva2:739445