A generalized crystal-cutting method for modeling arbitrarily oriented crystals in 3D periodic simulation cells with applications to crystal- crystal interfaces

MP Kroonblawd and N Mathew and S Jiang and TD Sewell, COMPUTER PHYSICS COMMUNICATIONS, 207, 232-242 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2016.07.007

A Generalized Crystal-Cutting Method (GCCM) is developed that automates construction of three dimensionally periodic simulation cells containing arbitrarily oriented single crystals and thin films, two dimensionally (2D) infinite crystal crystal homophase and heterophase interfaces, and nanostructures with intrinsic N-fold interfaces. The GCCM is based on a simple mathematical formalism that facilitates easy definition of constraints on cut crystal geometries. The method preserves the translational symmetry of all Bravais lattices and thus can be applied to any crystal described by such a lattice including complicated, low- symmetry molecular crystals. Implementations are presented with carefully articulated combinations of loop searches and constraints that drastically reduce computational complexity compared to simple loop searches. Orthorhombic representations of monoclinic and triclinic crystals found using the GCCM overcome some limitations in standard distributions of popular molecular dynamics software packages. Stability of grain boundaries in beta-HMX was investigated using molecular dynamics and molecular statics simulations with 2D infinite crystal crystal homophase interfaces created using the GCCM. The order of stabilities for the four grain boundaries studied is predicted to correlate with the relative prominence of particular crystal faces in lab-grown beta-HMX crystals. We demonstrate how nanostructures can be constructed through simple constraints applied in the GCCM framework. Example GCCM constructions are shown that are relevant to some current problems in materials science, including shock sensitivity of explosives, layered electronic devices, and pharmaceuticals. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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