# Phonon dispersion of bulk Si¶

- Author
Javier Junquera and Andrei Postnikov

The goal of this exercise is to compute the phonon band structure of bulk Si in the diamond structure.

Note

Before computing the vibrational structure, it is always necessary to relax the geometrical structure of the system under study, so that the reference configuration truly corresponds to a minimum of the energy, with zero forces.

In this case, the forces on the Si atoms are always zero by symmetry, and the only structural parameter left is the lattice constant. We can run phonon calculations for any (reasonable) value of the lattice constant. In fact, useful information about average anharmonicity (the “Gruneisen parameter”) can be obtained by monitoring the dependency on volume of the phonon frequencies.

For this exercise we will just use a lattice constant obtained from a previous optimization with the same basis set and parameters (the value is slightly larger than the experimental one).

## Building the supercell to compute the force-constant matrix in real space¶

As explained in the slide presentation https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SRhSOWwFVPmS3vr4REJSvqgXf2Tic8fl/view?usp=sharing, if we know the force constant matrix in real space we can compute the dynamical matrix for every q-point in reciprocal space. For a bulk system, we need a way to record the forces felt by atoms in neighboring unit cells when we displace an atom in the unit cell. Hence the need for a

*supercell*.Run the fcbuild program to generate the supercell that will be used to compute the interatomic force constant matrices in real space. From the time being, we will generate a supercell replicating the unit cell three times (named -1, 0, and 1) along each cartesian direction (edit the Si.fcbuild.fdf and see the lines:

# # Options to generate the supercell # SuperCell_1 1 # number of shells in which the unit cell is # repeated in the direction of the first lattice vector. SuperCell_2 1 # Idem for the second lattice vector. SuperCell_3 1 # Idem for the third lattice vector.

To generate the supercell run:

```
fcbuild < Si.fcbuild.fdf
```

This code dumps the information of the Supercell in an output file, called FC.fdf, that contains

The structural data of the supercell, including

The number of atoms.

The lattice constant.

The lattice vectors.

The atomic coordinates and the atomic species of all the atoms

The variables required to compute the interatomic force constants. in real space.

Atoms that will be displaced (those belonging to the home unit cell).

The amount by which the atoms will be displaced.

For a final analysis of the results, the supercell should contain enough atoms so that all non-negleable elements of the force constant matrix are computed. The range in real space in which the force constant matrix decays to zero varies widely from system to system!!.

## Computing the force-constant matrix in real space¶

We prepare an input file, called Si.ifc.fdf, to run Siesta and compute the interatomic force constant in real space.

Many variables are taken directly from the file where the supercell is described (FC.fdf)

To compute the interatomic force constant in real space, we have to run Siesta

siesta < Si.ifc.fdf > Si.ifc.111.out

The interatomic force constant matrix in real space are stored in a file called SystemLabel.FC

## Computing the q-dependent dynamical matrix, and phonon modes¶

Once the interatomic force constants in real space have been computed, a discrete Fourier transform is performed to compute the dynamical matrix in reciprocal space. Then, the dynamical matrix is diagonalized and its eigenfrequencies and eigenvectors are computed. This is done using the vibra code.

The k-points are defined in the same way as to compute the electronic band structure, in the same file used to define the supercell

vibra < Si.fcbuild.fdf

The output of this code is:

SystemLabel.bands: with the different mode frequencies (in cm^-1). They are stored in the same way as the electronic band structure.

SystemLabel.vectors: with the eigenmodes for each k-points (the format is self-explained).

To plot the phonon band structure, proceed in the same way as to plot the electronic band structure (using the gnubands.x, etc).

gnubands < Si.bands > Si.phonon-bands.111.dat

gnuplot gnuplot> plot “Si.phonon-bands.111.dat” using 1:2 with lines

To produce a postscript file of this figure to be included in a document

gnuplot> set terminal postscript gnuplot> set output “Si.phonon-bands.111.ps” gnuplot> replot

## Checks of the convergence with the supercell size¶

Note

It might take too long to generate the FC files for the 222 and 333 cases. We provide them in the FILES directory. You will need to adapt the instructions below to this case (rename or copy files as needed).

One should always check the convergence of the computed phonon band structure with respect the size of the supercell, to be sure that all the relevant interatomic force constant matrix elements are included.

(Note: the simulations for larger cells require more than hour of CPU time to generate the force constant matrix. You can either repeat the procedure explained below or directly take the force constant matrix prepared for you, direct output of the proposed simulations. The name of the output files are Si.222.FC and Si.333.FC respectively).

To do this:

First, we save all the input and output files used upto now in order to be overwritten:

$ cp Si.fcbuild.fdf Si.fcbuild.111.fdf $ mv FC.fdf FC.111.fdf $ mv Si.FC Si.111.FC $ mv Si.vectors Si.111.vectors $ mv Si.bands Si.111.bands

Edit the file Si.fcbuild.fdf and increase the size of the supercell, adding up to 5 periodic repetitions of the unit cell in each direction (named -2, -1, 0, 1, 2)

# # Options to generate the supercell # SuperCell_1 2 # number of shells in which the unit cell is # repeated in the direction of the first lattice vector. SuperCell_2 2 # Idem for the second lattice vector. SuperCell_3 2 # Idem for the third lattice vector.

Repeat the previous procedure for SuperCell_1,2,3 = 2:

fcbuild < Si.fcbuild.fdf siesta < Si.ifc.fdf > Si.ifc.222.out vibra < Si.fcbuild.fdf gnubands < Si.bands > Si.phonon-bands.222.dat gnuplot gnuplot> plot "Si.phonon-bands.222.dat" using 1:2 with lines $ cp Si.fcbuild.fdf Si.fcbuild.222.fdf $ mv FC.fdf FC.222.fdf $ mv Si.FC Si.222.FC $ mv Si.vectors Si.222.vectors $ mv Si.bands Si.222.bands

Repeat the previous procedure for SuperCell_1,2,3 = 3:

fcbuild < Si.fcbuild.fdf siesta < Si.ifc.fdf > Si.ifc.333.out vibra < Si.fcbuild.fdf gnubands < Si.bands > Si.phonon-bands.333.dat gnuplot gnuplot> plot "Si.phonon-bands.333.dat" using 1:2 with lines $ cp Si.fcbuild.fdf Si.fcbuild.333.fdf $ mv FC.fdf FC.333.fdf $ mv Si.FC Si.333.FC $ mv Si.vectors Si.333.vectors $ mv Si.bands Si.333.bands

(for this, you might have to edit the vibra.h file in the Vibra/Src directory, change the values of

parameter (maxx = 3) parameter (maxy = 3) parameter (maxz = 3)

and recompile the code typing

`make`

).

To compare the results obtained with the three superlattices:

$ gnuplot gnuplot> plot "Si.phonon-bands.111.dat" using 1:2 with lines, "Si.phonon-bands.222.dat" using 1:2 w l, "Si.phonon-bands.333.dat" u 1:2 with lines

You can produce postscript files as indicated above