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  1. Abstract

    The Li-Sn binary system has been the focus of extensive research because it features Li-rich alloys with potential applications as battery anodes. Our present re-examination of the binary system with a combination of machine learning and ab initio methods has allowed us to screen a vast configuration space and uncover a number of overlooked thermodynamically stable alloys. At ambient pressure, our evolutionary searches identified an additional stable Li3Sn phase with a large BCC-based hR48 structure and a possible high-TLiSn4ground state. By building a simple model for the observed and predicted Li-Sn BCC alloys we constructed an even larger viable hR75 structure at an exotic 19:6 stoichiometry. At 20 GPa, low-symmetry 11:2, 5:1, and 9:2 phases found with our global searches destabilize previously proposed phases with high Li content. The findings showcase the appreciable promise machine-learning interatomic potentials hold for accelerating ab initio prediction of complex materials.

  2. Cu3Sn, a well-known intermetallic compound with a high melting temperature and thermal stability, has found numerous applications in microelectronics, 3D printing, and catalysis. However, the relationship between the material's thermal conductivity anisotropy and its complex anti-phase boundary superstructure is not well understood. Here, frequency domain thermoreflectance was used to map the thermal conductivity variation across the surface of arc-melted polycrystalline Cu3Sn. Complementary electron backscatter diffraction and transmission electron microscopy revealed the thermal conductivity in the principal a, b, and c orientations to be 57.6, 58.9, and 67.2 W/m-K, respectively. Density functional theory calculations for several Cu3Sn superstructures helped examine thermodynamic stability factors and evaluate the direction-resolved electron transport properties in the relaxation time approximation. The analysis of computed temperature- and composition-dependent free energies suggests metastability of the known long-period Cu3Sn superstructures while the transport calculations indicate a small directional variation in the thermal conductivity. The ∼15% anisotropy measured and computed in this study is well below previously reported experimental values for samples grown by liquid-phase electroepitaxy.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Magnetic fluctuations induced by geometric frustration of local Ir-spins disturb the formation of long-range magnetic order in the family of pyrochlore iridates. As a consequence, Pr2Ir2O7 lies at a tuning-free antiferromagnetic-to-paramagnetic quantum critical point and exhibits an array of complex phenomena including the Kondo effect, biquadratic band structure, and metallic spin liquid. Using spectroscopic imaging with the scanning tunneling microscope, complemented with machine learning, density functional theory and theoretical modeling, we probe the local electronic states in Pr2Ir2O7 and find an electronic phase separation. Nanoscale regions with a well-defined Kondo resonance are interweaved with a non-magnetic metallic phase with Kondo-destruction. These spatial nanoscale patterns display a fractal geometry with power-law behavior extended over two decades, consistent with being in proximity to a critical point. Our discovery reveals a nanoscale tuning route, viz. using a spatial variation of the electronic potential as a means of adjusting the balance between Kondo entanglement and geometric frustration.
  4. Abstract

    Magnetic fluctuations induced by geometric frustration of local Ir-spins disturb the formation of long-range magnetic order in the family of pyrochlore iridates. As a consequence, Pr2Ir2O7lies at a tuning-free antiferromagnetic-to-paramagnetic quantum critical point and exhibits an array of complex phenomena including the Kondo effect, biquadratic band structure, and metallic spin liquid. Using spectroscopic imaging with the scanning tunneling microscope, complemented with machine learning, density functional theory and theoretical modeling, we probe the local electronic states in Pr2Ir2O7and find an electronic phase separation. Nanoscale regions with a well-defined Kondo resonance are interweaved with a non-magnetic metallic phase with Kondo-destruction. These spatial nanoscale patterns display a fractal geometry with power-law behavior extended over two decades, consistent with being in proximity to a critical point. Our discovery reveals a nanoscale tuning route, viz. using a spatial variation of the electronic potential as a means of adjusting the balance between Kondo entanglement and geometric frustration.

  5. We present an approach based on two bio-inspired algorithms to accelerate the identification of nanoparticle ground states. We show that a symbiotic co-evolution of nanoclusters across a range of sizes improves the search efficiency considerably, while a neural network constructed with a recently introduced stratified training scheme delivers an accurate description of interactions in multielement systems. The method's performance has been examined in extensive searches for stable elemental (30–80 atoms), binary (50, 55, and 80 atoms), and ternary (50, 55, and 80 atoms) Cu–Pd–Ag clusters. The best candidate structures identified with the neural network model have consistently lower energy at the density functional theory level compared with those found with traditional interatomic potentials.
  6. We have combined a neural network formalism with metaheuristic structural global search algorithms to systematically screen the Mg–Ca binary system for new (meta)stable alloys. The combination of these methods allows for an efficient exploration of the potential energy surface beyond the possibility of the traditional searches based on ab initio energy evaluations. The identified pool of low-enthalpy structures was complemented with special quasirandom structures (SQS) at different stoichiometries. In addition to the only Mg–Ca phase known to form under standard synthesis conditions, C14-Mg 2 Ca, the search has uncovered several candidate materials that could be synthesized under elevated temperatures or pressures. We show that the vibrational entropy lowers the relative free energy of several phases with magnesium kagome layers: C15 and C36 Laves structures at the 2 : 1 composition and an orthorhombic oS36 structure at the 7 : 2 composition. The estimated phase transition temperatures close to the melting point leave open the possibility of synthesizing the predicted materials at high temperatures. At high pressures up to 10 GPa, two new phases at the 1 : 1 and 3 : 1 Mg : Ca stoichiometries become thermodynamically stable and should form in multi-anvil experiments.