Role of electronic correlation in high-low temperature phase transition of hexagonal nickel sulfide: a comparative density functional theory study with and without correction for on-site Coulomb interaction

Wei-Bing Zhang, Jie Li, Bi-Yu Tang
Journal of Chemical Physics 2013 June 28, 138 (24): 244703
The structural, electronic, magnetic, and elastic properties of hexagonal nickel sulfide (NiS) have been investigated comparatively by Density Functional theory (DFT) and DFT plus correction for on-site Coulomb interaction (DFT+U), in which two different exchange correlation functionals local density approximations (LDA) and general gradient approximations (GGA) in the form of Perdew-Burke-Ernzerhof (PBE) are used. Our results indicate LDA and PBE methods predict hexagonal NiS to be a paramagnetic metal whereas LDA(PBE)+U calculations with reasonable on-site Coulomb interaction energy give the antiferromagnetic insulating state of low temperature hexagonal NiS successfully. Meanwhile, compared with LDA(PBE) results, LDA(PBE)+U methods give larger lattice parameters, crystal volume, and shear constant c44, consistent with the experimental picture during high-low temperature phase transition of hexagonal NiS, in which an increase of the shear constant c44 and lattice parameters were found in the low-temperature antiferromagnetic phase. The present DFT and DFT+U calculations provide a reasonable description for the properties of high temperature and low temperature hexagonal NiS respectively, which indicates that electronic correlation is responsible for this high-low temperature phase transition.

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