Mott-to-Goodenough insulator-insulator transition in LiVO2
AbstractI critically examine Goodenough's explanation for the experimentally observed phase transition in LiVO2 using microscopic calculations based on density functional and dynamical mean field theories. The high-temperature rhombohedral phase exhibits both magnetic and dynamical instabilities. Allowing a magnetic solution for the rhombohedral structure does not open an insulating gap, and an explicit treatment of the on-site Coulomb U interaction is needed to stabilize an insulating rhombohedral phase. The non-spin-polarized phonon dispersions of the rhombohedral phase show two unstable phonon modes at the wave vector (13,−13,0) that corresponds to the experimentally observed trimer forming instability. A full relaxation of the supercell corresponding to this instability yields a nonmagnetic state containing V3 trimers. These results are consistent with Goodenough's suggestion that the high-temperature phase is in the localized-electron regime and the transition to the low-temperature phase in the itinerant-electron regime is driven by V-V covalency.