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This content will become publicly available on February 21, 2024

Title: Chemical interactions that govern the structures of metals
Most metals adopt simple structures such as body-centered cubic (BCC), face-centered cubic (FCC), and hexagonal close-packed (HCP) structures in specific groupings across the periodic table, and many undergo transitions to surprisingly complex structures on compression, not expected from conventional free-electron-based theories of metals. First-principles calculations have been able to reproduce many observed structures and transitions, but a unified, predictive theory that underlies this behavior is not yet in hand. Discovered by analyzing the electronic properties of metals in various lattices over a broad range of sizes and geometries, a remarkably simple theory shows that the stability of metal structures is governed by electrons occupying local interstitial orbitals and their strong chemical interactions. The theory provides a basis for understanding and predicting structures in solid compounds and alloys over a broad range of conditions.
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Award ID(s):
1848141 2117956
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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