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Structure-property relationships in cubic cuprous iodide: A novel view on stability, chemical bonding, and electronic properties

Pishtshev, A. , Karazhanov, S.Zh.
Journal of chemical physics, Vol.146, no. 6 (2017), art. no. 064706
Publ. year
2017
Publ. type
article
Abstract
Based on the combination of density functional theory and theory-group methods, we performed systematic modeling of γ-CuI structural design at the atomistic level. Being started from the metallic copper lattice, we treated a crystal assembly as a stepwise iodination process characterized in terms of a sequence of intermediate lattice geometries. These geometries were selected and validated via screening of possible structural transformations. The genesis of chemical bonding was studied for three structural transformations by analyzing the relevant changes in the topology of valence electron densities. We determined structural trends driven by metal-ligand coupling. This allowed us to suggest the improved scenario of chemical bonding in γ-CuI. In particular, the unconventional effect of spatial separation of metallic and covalent interactions was found to be very important with respect to the preferred arrangements of valence electrons in the iodination process. We rigorously showed that useful electronic and optical properties of γ-CuI originate from the combination of two separated bonding patterns—strong covalency established in I–Cu tetrahedral connections and noncovalent interactions of copper cores is caused by the 3d10 closed-shell electron configurations. The other finding of ours is that the self-consistency of the GW calculations is crucial for correctly determining the dynamic electronic correlations in γ-CuI. Detail reinvestigation of the quasi-particle energy structure by means of the self-consistent GW approach allowed us to explain how p-type electrical conductivity can be engineered in the material.
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