New Ab Initio Based Pair Potential for Accurate Simulation of Phase Transitions in ZnO

SW Wang and ZC Fan and RS Koster and CM Fang and MA van Huis and AO Yalcin and FD Tichelaar and HW Zandbergen and TJH Vlugt, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 118, 11050-11061 (2014).

DOI: 10.1021/jp411308z

A set of interatomic pair potentials is developed for ZnO based on the partially charged rigid ion model (PCRIM). The derivation of the potentials combines lattice inversion, empirical fitting, and ab initio energy surface fitting. We show that, 0 despite the low number of parameters in this model (8), a wide range of physical properties is accurately reproduced using the new potential model. The calculated lattice parameters and elastic constants of ZnO in the wurtzite (WZ) phase, as well as the lattice parameters and stabilities of ZnO in other high-pressure and metastable phases, agree well with experiments and with density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The calculated transition pressure of the wurtzite-to-rocksalt (WZ-to-RS) transition is 12.3 GPa. A wurtzite-to-honeycomb (WZ-to-HC) phase transition induced by uniaxial pressure along the c-axis is simulated by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The WZ-to-HC transition takes place at an uniaxial pressure of 8.8 GPa while the reverse transition takes place at 2.9 GPa, which is consistent with DFT calculations. Other physical properties, including phonon dispersion, phonon density of states, and melting point calculated using our ZnO potential model are in good agreement with experimental and DFT data. Limitations of the novel ZnO potential model are also discussed.

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