We have investigated the structural phase stability of crystalline alkali metals under external pressure in terms of their pair potentials, structural free energies, thermomechanical properties viz. the elastic constants and the density-of-sates [DOS] at the Fermi level. The pair potentials are calculated using amenable model potentials, the structural energies and the elastic constants are calculated in terms of the effective pair potentials and the DOS for the systems are calculated by employing the augmented-spherical-waves [ASW] method. The matching between the minima of the pair potentials and the relative positions of the first few lattice vectors of the relevant structures gives a qualitative impression on the relative stability of a crystal phase. Similarly the appearance of a minimum in the energy difference curves between relevant crystal structures manifests a relatively stable structure. On the contrary, a maximum in the bulk modulus indicates a stable structure; these maximum-minimum criteria are controlled by the profile of the effective pair interactions of the constituent atoms. If the relevant lattice vectors are populated in and around the minimum of the respective pair potential the corresponding bulk modulus shows a maximum trend. The same situation gives rise to a minimum in the free energy. Both of these tendencies favor a particular crystalline phase against other relevant structures. Similarly a maximum in the DOS curves gives rise to a minimum in the energy curve manifesting a stable structure. The population of electronic states plays the responsible role here. To treat the two entirely different methods, namely, the perturbative pseudopotential theory and the non-perturbative ASW method on the same footing, we have used the same metallic density in both the methods for the respective element. The calculated results show a qualitative trend in support of the observed structures for these elemental systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics