Department of Physics and Astronomy

Disputation: Magnetism in Transition Metal Systems: Interplay between structure, dimensionality and electron correlation

  • Date:
  • Location: Polhemsalen, 10134, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Keshavarz Hedayati, Samara
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Materialteori
  • Contact person: Keshavarz Hedayati, Samara
  • Disputation


In this thesis, an ab initio study of electronic structures and magnetic properties of transition metal systems has been presented, covering bulk, interface and surface geometries. Among them are Fe, Co, Ni, CaMnO3, Co2MnSi, a ferromagnetic Heusler alloy, as well as double-perovskites oxides such as Sr3(Fe1.25Ni0.75)O6 and Nd2NiMnO6.

Their electronic structures have been obtained within the framework of the density functional theory (DFT) in combination with Hubbard type interaction such as the static correction evaluated within the Hartree-Fock method (DFT+U) or within the more sophisticated method of dynamical mean-field theory (DFT+DMFT). Using many-body approaches enables us to treat the correlation effects such as non-quasiparitcle states above the Fermi level for Co2MnSi and in the half-metallic side of the Co2MnAl/CoMnVAl heterostructure.

Based on the converged electronic structure, the magnetic excitations were mapped onto the Heisenberg Hamiltonian. Among various ways to extract exchange parameters, in this Thesis the method of infinitesimal rotation of the spins has been applied in the framework of the local magnetic force approach. It is shown that the exchange interactions on the surface of transition metals can be substantially different from those in the corresponding bulk. At the same time, the dynamical correlations lead to a slight renormalization of the magnetic couplings. For CaMnO3, we demonstrated the crucial role of the atomic relaxations defining the magnetic order on the surface atoms. We were also able to extract the orbital decompositions, which helped identify the main contributions to the total exchange. For the double-perovskite systems, the extracted exchange parameters were then used to evaluate the ordering temperature using Monte-Carlo simulations, and the calculated critical temperatures were found to be in good agreement with our experimental measurements.

In a more technical investigation, the influence of the spin polarization of the DFT exchange-correlation functional on the extracted exchange parameters has been investigated. We found a very good correspondence between the computed total energies and the parametrized Heisenberg model for LDA+U calculations, but not for LSDA+U. This means that for the extraction of the exchange parameters based on total energy differences, LDA+U is more appropriate.

Finally, a systematic study of the emergence of the local minima in DFT+U calculations has been performed for the bulk of NiO, FeO, CoO and UO2. We extended the use of the occupation matrix control method to randomly generate density matrices which help better monitor the local minima and explore the energy landscape. The effect of the Hubbard U and the double-counting in introducing the local minima are discussed.