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Title: Metastable electronic states in uranium tetrafluoride

Here, the DFT+ U approach, where U is the Hubbard-like on-site Coulomb interaction, has successfully been used to improve the description of transition metal oxides and other highly correlated systems, including actinides. The secret of the DFT+ U approach is the breaking of d or f shell orbital degeneracy and adding an additional energetic penalty to non-integer occupation of orbitals. A prototypical test case, UO 2, benefits from the + U approach whereby the bare LDA method predicts UO 2 to be a ferromagnetic metal, whereas LDA+ U correctly predicts UO 2 to be insulating. However, the concavity of the energetic penalty in the DFT+ U approach can lead to a number of convergent “metastable” electronic configurations residing above the ground state. Uranium tetrafluoride (UF 4) represents a more complex analogy to UO 2 in that the crystal field has lower symmetry and the unit cell contains two symmetrically distinct U atoms. We explore the metastable states in UF 4 using several different methods of selecting initial orbital occupations. Two methods, a “pre-relaxation” method wherein an initial set of orbital eigenvectors is selected via the self-consistency procedure and a crystal rotation method wherein the x, y, z axes are broughtmore » into alignment with the crystal field, are explored. We show that in the case of UF 4, which has non-collinearity between its crystal axes and the U atoms' crystal field potentials, the orbital occupation matrices are much more complex and should be analyzed using a novel approach. In addition to demonstrating a complex landscape of metastable electronic states, UF 4 also shows significant hybridization in U–F bonding, which involves non-trivial contributions from s, p, d, and f orbitals.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP (Print)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP (Print); Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 15; Journal ID: ISSN 1463-9076
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
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