Ab initio DFT+U study of He atom incorporation into UO(2) crystals

Denis Gryaznov, Eugene Heifets, Eugene Kotomin
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics: PCCP 2009 September 7, 11 (33): 7241-7
We present and discuss results of the density functional theory (DFT) for perfect UO(2) crystals with He atoms in octahedral interstitial positions therein. We have calculated basic bulk crystal properties and He incorporation energies into the low temperature anti-ferromagnetic UO(2) phase using several exchange-correlation functionals within the spin-polarized local density (LDA) and generalized gradient (GGA) approximations. In all DFT calculations we included the on-site correlation corrections using the Hubbard model (DFT+U approach). We analysed a potential crystalline symmetry reduction from tetragonal down to orthorhombic structure and confirmed the presence of the Jahn-Teller effect in a perfect UO(2). We discuss also the problem of a conducting electronic state arising when He is placed into a tetragonal antiferromagnetic phase of UO(2) commonly used in defect modelling. Consequently, we found a specific monoclinic lattice distortion which allowed us to restore the semiconducting state and properly estimate He incorporation energies. Unlike the bulk properties, the He incorporation energy strongly depends on several factors, including the supercell size, the use of spin polarization, the exchange-correlation functionals and on-site correlation corrections. We compare our results for the He incorporation with the previous shell model and ab initio DFT calculations.

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