Anharmonic interatomic force constants and thermal conductivity from Grüneisen parameters: An application to graphene
AbstractPhonon-mediated thermal conductivity, which is of great technological relevance, arises due fundamentally to anharmonic scattering from interatomic potentials. Despite its prevalence, accurate first-principles calculations of thermal conductivity remain challenging, primarily due to the high computational cost of anharmonic interatomic force constant (IFC) calculations. Meanwhile, the related anharmonic phenomenon of thermal expansion is much more tractable, being computable from the Grüneisen parameters associated with phonon frequency shifts due to crystal deformations. In this work, we propose an approach for computing the largest cubic IFCs from the Grüneisen parameter data. This allows an approximate determination of the thermal conductivity via a much less expensive route. The key insight is that although the Grüneisen parameters cannot possibly contain all the information on the cubic IFCs, being derivable from spatially uniform deformations, they can still unambiguously and accurately determine the largest and most physically relevant ones. By fitting the anisotropic Grüneisen parameter data along judiciously designed deformations, we can deduce (i.e., reverse-engineer) the dominant cubic IFCs and estimate three-phonon scattering amplitudes. We illustrate our approach by explicitly computing the largest cubic IFCs and thermal conductivity of graphene, especially for its out-of-plane (flexural) modes that exhibit anomalously large anharmonic shifts and thermal conductivity contributions. Our calculations on graphene not only exhibit reasonable agreement with established density-functional theory results, but they also present a pedagogical opportunity for introducing an elegant analytic treatment of the Grüneisen parameters of generic two-band models. Our approach can be readily extended to more complicated crystalline materials with nontrivial anharmonic lattice effects.