2021 journal article

Evaluating the roles of temperature-dependent eigenvectors in predicting phonon transport properties of anharmonic crystals using normal mode analysis methods

Journal of Applied Physics.

By: J. He n & J. Liu n

co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
Source: ORCID
Added: June 4, 2021

Theoretical modeling of phonon transport process in strongly anharmonic materials at a finite temperature needs to accurately capture the effects of lattice anharmonicity. The anharmonicity of potential energy surface would result in not only strong phonon scatterings but also shifts of phonon frequencies and eigenvectors. In this work, we evaluated the roles of anharmonicity-renormalized phonon eigenvectors in predicting phonon transport properties of anharmonic crystals at high temperatures using molecular dynamics-based normal mode analysis (NMA) methods in both time domain and frequency domain. Using PbTe as a model of strongly anharmonic crystal, we analyzed the numerical challenges to extract phonon lifetimes using NMA methods when phonon eigenvectors deviate from their harmonic values at high temperatures. To solve these issues, we proposed and verified a better fitting strategy, Sum-up Spectrum Fitting Method (SSFM) than the original frequency-domain NMA method. SSFM is to project the total spectrum energy density data of all phonon modes onto an inaccurate (harmonic or quasi-harmonic) eigenvector base and then manually sum up the peaks that belong to the same phonon mode (at the same frequency). The SSFM relaxes the requirement for accurate temperature-dependent eigenvectors, making it robust for analyzing strongly anharmonic crystals at high temperatures.