Thermodynamic ground state of MgB6 predicted from first principles structure search methods.


Crystalline structures of magnesium hexaboride, MgB6, were investigated using unbiased structure searching methods combined with first principles density functional calculations. An orthorhombic Cmcm structure was predicted as the thermodynamic ground state of MgB6. The energy of the Cmcm structure is significantly lower than the theoretical MgB6 models previously considered based on a primitive cubic arrangement of boron octahedra. The Cmcm structure is stable against the decomposition to elemental magnesium and boron solids at atmospheric pressure and high pressures up to 18.3 GPa. A unique feature of the predicted Cmcm structure is that the boron atoms are clustered into two forms: localized B6 octahedra and extended B∞ ribbons. Within the boron ribbons, the electrons are delocalized and this leads to a metallic ground state with vanished electric dipoles. The present prediction is in contrast to the previous proposal that the crystalline MgB6 maintains a semiconducting state with permanent dipole moments. MgB6 is estimated to have much weaker electron-phonon coupling compared with that of MgB2, and therefore it is not expected to be able to sustain superconductivity at high temperatures.

DOI: 10.1063/1.4862831

Cite this paper

@article{Wang2014ThermodynamicGS, title={Thermodynamic ground state of MgB6 predicted from first principles structure search methods.}, author={Hui Wang and Karina Leblanc and Bo Gao and Yansun Yao}, journal={The Journal of chemical physics}, year={2014}, volume={140 4}, pages={044710} }