Anharmonicity and necessity of phonon eigenvectors in the phonon normal mode analysis

TL Feng and B Qiu and XL Ruan, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 117, 195102 (2015).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4921108

It is well known that phonon frequencies can shift from their harmonic values when elevated to a finite temperature due to the anharmonicity of interatomic potential. Here, we show that phonon eigenvectors also have shifts, but only for compound materials in which each atom has at least two types of anharmonic interactions with other atoms. Using PbTe as the model material, we show that the shifts in some phonon modes may reach as much as 50% at 800 K. Phonon eigenvectors are used in normal mode analysis (NMA) to predict phonon relaxation times and thermal conductivity. We show, from both analytical derivations and numerical simulations, that the eigenvectors are unnecessary in frequency-domain NMA, which gives a critical revision of previous knowledge. This simplification makes the calculation in frequency-domain NMA more convenient since no separate lattice dynamics calculations are needed. On the other hand, we expect our finding of anharmonic eigenvectors may make difference in time-domain NMA and other areas, like wave-packet analysis. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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