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Title:Computational electronic structure studies of novel condensed matter phases
Author(s):Dumett Torres, Daniel
Director of Research:Jain, Prashant L
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jain, Prashant L
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hirata, So; Gruebele, Martin; Flaherty, David W
Department / Program:Chemistry
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Nanomaterials, Computational Materials Science
Abstract:This dissertation compiles the bulk of my work as a PhD student in the research group of Professor Prashant K. Jain at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research was exclusively in the field of theoretical chemistry and materials science: I employed high-performance computing tools to perform electronic structure investigations of novel crystalline materials synthesized, some for the very first time, in the group. My placement in the experimentally-focused Jain group afforded multiple opportunities in which the discoveries of my fellow group members prompted me to conduct stand-alone or collaborative theoretical investigations of new nanomaterials. A summary of the experimental backdrop to my work is presented in Chapter 1, along with a description of the theoretical methods that were the mainstay of my PhD research. Chapter 2 presents work in which my density functional theory (DFT) calculations improved our understanding of the metastability of a previously unobserved vacancy ordering in a Cu2Se. Chapter 3 presents a different direction of investigations that we conducted on Cu2Se, this time into its superionic properties. The nucleation, kinetics, and correlation of lattice strain to the order-disorder superionic phase transition were explored through a combination of transmission electron microscopy and DFT. The correlation between lattice strain and superionicity is expanded upon in Chapter 4 where Prashant and I developed a theoretical basis on which to understand compressively strain-stabilized superionicity in Cu2Se and Li2Se. Chapter 5 shifts away from Cu2Se on to HgSe. Additionally, the focus changes from the structure and transport of cations to the structure and transport of electrons, specifically the electron-conducting surface states found in topological phases of matter. Bulk band-structure calculations and charge density character analysis that I carried out led us to hypothesize that a hexagonal phase of HgSe newly-synthesized bny the Jain group was a 3-D topological insulator. The unique topological surface states (TSS) of HgSe and their dependence on strain, crystallographic symmetry, and surface faceting are determined by DFT and presented in Chapter 6. Particularly, the effect of lattice strain on the dispersion and spin texture circles back to the central theme in the studies of super-ionic crystals: that small amounts of strain can significantly alter the charge transport properties of a material.
Issue Date:2020-04-24
Rights Information:copyright 2020 Daniel Dumett Torres
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-27
Date Deposited:2020-05

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