Vibrational and Structural Characterisation in Two Perovskite Challenges: A Density Functional Theory Study
The modelling of perovskites using density functional theory (DFT) can sometimes be a challenge with many different states very close in energy. In particular, the tilting of the inscribed octahedron, as well as the formation of electron polarons, leads to states with energy differences in the meV range. To distinguish between these states requires special care. This thesis investigates how the vibrational frequencies and defect-induced strain, or chemical expansion, can be used to distinguish between different states. For the polaron state in oxyhydride BaTiO3, the comparison of calculations of hydrogen-ion vibrational frequencies to neutron scattering experiments is an excellent discriminator. The presence of polarons is deemed highly unlikely in unstrained material, despite the presence of oxygen vacancies. The observation is confirmed by comparisons of the strain tensor, calculated using a here-developed formalism. In BaZrO3 the likelihood of an anti-ferrodistortive phase transition is a direct consequence of the magnitude of the R25-mode frequency. The R25-mode frequency is strongly dependent on the lattice spacing, but it is shown that the main effect of the inclusion of gradient corrections, as well as non-local correlation, is secondary and is mostly a consequence of the adjusted lattice constant. The inclusion of Fock exchange, however, leads to a significant stabilisation of the cubic phase, which is also verified by neutron scattering measurements. This thesis also concludes that the inclusion of Fock exchange, as found in hybrid functionals, is essential for a correct description of vibrational properties in both two studied perovskites.
density functional theory