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Title: Anharmonicity and atomic distribution of SnTe and PbTe thermoelectrics

The structure and lattice dynamics of rock-salt thermoelectric materials SnTe and PbTe are investigated with single crystal and powder neutron diffraction, inelastic neutron scattering (INS), and first-principles simulations. Our first-principles calculations of the radial distribution function (RDF) in both SnTe and PbTe show a clear asymmetry in the first nearest-neighbor (1NN) peak, which increases with temperature, in agreement with experimental reports (Ref. 1,2). We show that this peak asymmetry for the 1NN Sn–Te or Pb–Te bond results from large-amplitude anharmonic vibrations (phonons). No atomic off-centering is found in our simulations. In addition, the atomic mean square displacements derived from our diffraction data reveal stiffer bonding at the anion site, in good agreement with the partial phonon densities of states from INS, and first-principles calculations. In conclusion, these results provide clear evidence for large-amplitude anharmonic phonons associated with the resonant bonding leading to the ferroelectric instability.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science & Technology Division
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Quantum Condensed Matter Division
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Chemical and Engineering Materials Division
  4. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States). Lujan Center
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; SC0001299; AC52-06NA25396
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review. B, Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 90; Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 1098-0121
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Spallation Neutron Source (SNS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1180716