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Pressure-induced structural transition and thermodynamic properties of NbSi2 from first-principles calculations

Pu Chun-Ying Wang Li Lü Lin-Xia Yu Rong-Mei He Chao-Zheng Lu Zhi-Wen Zhou Da-Wei

Pressure-induced structural transition and thermodynamic properties of NbSi2 from first-principles calculations

Pu Chun-Ying, Wang Li, Lü Lin-Xia, Yu Rong-Mei, He Chao-Zheng, Lu Zhi-Wen, Zhou Da-Wei
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  • Received Date:  22 October 2014
  • Accepted Date:  25 November 2014
  • Published Online:  20 April 2015

Pressure-induced structural transition and thermodynamic properties of NbSi2 from first-principles calculations

  • 1. College of Physics and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Nomal University, Nanyang 473061, China
Fund Project:  Projected Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11247222, 51374132), the Henan Joint Funds of the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. U1304612, U1404608, U1404216), and the Science Fund of Nanyang Normal University, China (Grant No. ZX2013017).

Abstract: Applying the particle swarm optimization algorithm to the crystal structure prediction, we first predict a novel high pressure phase of NbSi2 with Si tetrahedron embedded diamond structure of Nb. NbSi2 alloy undergoes a first-order phase transition from hexagonal phase to cubic phase at about 175 GPa with a volume collapse of 4.1%, indicating the first-order transition. New predicted NbSi2 phase is dynamically stable in the absence of any imaginary phonon frequency in the whole Brillouin zone of phonon spectrum. The calculations of total and partial density of states indicate that the NbSi2 is in hexagonal phase at 0 GPa and it is in cubic structure at 180 GPa, both of which exhibit metal behaviors, which is dominated by Nb atom. There exists obviously the p-d hybridization between Nb and Si, and more charges accumulate in Si tetrahedron. Based on the “stress-strain” method, elastic constants, bulk modulus, shear modulus, Young's modulus, and Debye temperature of NbSi2 in two phases under pressure are systematically investigated using first principles calculations combined with the quasi-harmonic Debye model. To evaluate the ductile and brittle characteristics of NbSi2 alloy, pressure dependence of G/B ratio is investigated. Furthermore, the values of hardness and percent anisotropy AB and AG and the universal anisotropic index AU (inset) for NbSi2 alloy in hexagonal and cubic structures are also calculated. Our results show that external pressure has different effects on the values of ductility and hardness and anisotropy of the two phases. External pressure can improve the ductility of hexagonal phase, while it has a negligible effect on that of cubic phase. The hardness values of two phases of NbSi2 are analyzed in detail by using the G/B ratio. As pressure increases, the elastic anisotropy of hexagonal phase increases rapidly, while that of cubic phase remains unchanged.

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