At high pressure, bismuth acquires a complex incommensurate host-guest structure, only recently discovered. Characterizing the structure and properties of this incommensurate phase from first principles is challenging owing to its nonperiodic nature. In this study we use large-scale density functional theory calculations to model commensurate approximants to the Bi-III phase, and in particular to describe the atomic modulations with respect to their ideal positions, shown here to strongly affect the electronic structure of the lattice and its stability. The equation of state and range of stability of Bi-III are reproduced in excellent agreement with experiment using a fully relativistic model. We demonstrate the importance of employing large unit cells for the accurate description of the geometric and electronic configuration of Bi-III. In contrast, accurate description of the equation of state of bismuth is found to be primarily sensitive to the choice of pseudopotential and exchange-correlation function, while almost completely insensitive to the commensurate approximation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics