# Chapter 2: Crystal Structures and Symmetry

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1 Chapter 2: Crystal Structures and Symmetry Laue, ravais December 28, 2001 Contents 1 Lattice Types and Symmetry Two-Dimensional Lattices Three-Dimensional Lattices Point-Group Symmetry Reduction of Quantum Complexity Symmetry in Lattice Summations Group designations Simple Crystal Structures FCC HCP CC

2 theory of the physical properties of solids would be practically impossible if the most stable elements were not regular crystal lattices. The N-body problem is reduced to manageable proportions by the existence of translational symmetry. This means that there exist a set of basis vectors (a,b,c) such that the atomic structure remains invariant under translations through any vector which is the sum of integral multiples of these vectors. s shown in Fig. 1 this means that one may go from any location in the lattice to an identical location by following path composed of integral multiples of these vectors. a α b Figure 1: ne may go from any location in the lattice to an identical location by following path composed of integral multiples of the vectors a and b. Thus, one may label the locations of the atoms 1. which compose the lattice with r n = n 1 a + n 2 b + n 3 c (1) 1 we will see that the basic building blocks of periodic structures can be more complicated than a single atom. For example in NaCl, the basic building block is composed of one Na and one Cl ion which is repeated in a cubic pattern to make the NaCl structure 2

3 where n 1, n 2, n 3 are integers. In this way we may construct any periodic structure. 1 Lattice Types and Symmetry 1.1 Two-Dimensional Lattices These structures are classified according to their symmetry. For example, in 2d there are 5 distinct types. The lowest symmetry is an oblique lattice, of which the lattice shown in Fig. 1 is an example if a b and α is not a rational fraction of π. Notice that it is invari- Square Rectangular b a b a a = b, γ = π/2 a = b, γ = π/2 Hexangonal Centered b a b a a = b, γ = π/3 Figure 2: Two dimensional lattice types of higher symmetry. These have higher symmetry since some are invariant under rotations of 2π/3, or 2π/6, or 2π/4, etc. The centered lattice is special since it may also be considered as lattice composed of a two-component basis, and a rectangular unit cell (shown with a dashed rectangle). 3

4 ant only under rotation of π and 2π. Four other lattices, shown in Fig. 2 of higher symmetry are also possible, and called special lattice types (square, rectangular, centered, hexagonal). ravais lattice is the common name for a distinct lattice type. The primitive cell is the parallel piped (in 3d) formed by the primitive lattice vectors which are defined as the lattice vectors which produce the primitive cell with the smallest volume (a (c c)). Notice that the primitive cell does not always capture the symmetry as well as a larger cell, as is the case with the centered lattice type. The centered lattice is special since it may also be considered as lattice composed of a two-component basis on a rectangular unit cell (shown with a dashed rectangle). asis Primitive cell and lattice vectors b a Figure 3: square lattice with a complex basis composed of one and two atoms (c.f. cuprate high-temperature superconductors). 4

5 To account for more complex structures like molecular solids, salts, etc., one also allows each lattice point to have structure in the form of a basis. good example of this in two dimensions is the 2 planes which characterize the cuprate high temperature superconductors (cf. Fig. 3). Here the basis is composed of two oxygens and one copper atom laid down on a simple square lattice with the atom centered on the lattice points. 1.2 Three-Dimensional Lattices bic ody Centered bic Face Centered bic c b a c b a a = x b = y c = z a = (x+y-z)/2 b = (-x+y+z)/2 c = (x-y+z)/2 a = (x+y)/2 b = (x+z)/2 c = (y+z)/2 Figure 4: Three-dimensional cubic lattices. The primitive lattice vectors (a,b,c) are also indicated. Note that the primitive cells of the centered lattice is not the unit cell commonly drawn. The situation in three-dimensional lattices can be more complicated. Here there are 14 lattice types (or ravais lattices). For example there 5

6 are 3 cubic structures, shown in Fig. 4. Note that the primitive cells of the centered lattice is not the unit cell commonly drawn. In addition, there are triclinic, 2 monoclinic, 4 orthorhombic... ravais lattices, for a total of 14 in three dimensions. 2 Point-Group Symmetry The use of symmetry can greatly simplify a problem. 2.1 Reduction of Quantum Complexity If a Hamiltonian is invariant under certain symmetry operations, then we may choose to classify the eigenstates as states of the symmetry operation and H will not connect states of different symmetry. s an example, imagine that a symmetry operation R leaves H invariant, so that RHR 1 = H then [H, R] = 0 (2) Then if j > are the eigenstates of R, then j j >< j is a representation of the identity, and we expand HR = RH, and examine its elements k < i R k >< k H j >= k < i H k >< k R j >. (3) If we recall that R ik =< i R k >= R ii δ ik since k > are eigenstates of 6

7 R, then Eq. 3 becomes (R ii R jj ) H ij = 0. (4) So, H ij = 0 if R i and R j are different eigenvalues of R. Thus, when the states are classified by their symmetry, the Hamiltonian matrix becomes lock diagonal, so that each block may be separately diagonalized. 2.2 Symmetry in Lattice Summations s another example, consider a Madelung sum in a two-dimensional square centered lattice (i.e. a 2d analog of NaCl). Here we want to calculate ij ± p ij. (5) This may be done by a brute force sum over the lattice, i.e. lim n i= n,n j= n,n ( 1) i+j p ij. (6) r, we may realize that the lattice has some well defined operations which leave it invariant. For example, this lattice in invariant under inversion (x, y) ( x, y), and reflections about the x (x, y) (x, y) and y (x, y) ( x, y) axes, etc. For these reasons, the eight points highlighted in Fig. 5(a) all contribute an identical amount to the sum in Eq. 5. In fact all such interior points have a degeneracy of 8. nly special points like the point at the origin (which is unique) and points along the symmetry axes (the xy and x axis, each with a degeneracy of 7

8 (a) (b) Figure 5: Equivalent points and irreducible wedge for the 2-d square lattice. Due to the symmetry of the 2-d square lattice, the eight patterned lattice sites all contribute an identical amount to the Madelung sum calculated around the solid black site. Due to this symmetry, the sum can be reduced to the irreducible wedge (b) if the result at each point is multiplied by the degeneracy factors indicated. four) have lower degeneracies. Thus, the sum may be restricted to the irreducible wedge, so long as the corresponding terms in the sum are multiplied by the appropriate degeneracy factors, shown in Fig. 5(b). n appropriate algorithm to calculate both the degeneracy table, and the sum 5 itself are: c First calculate the degeneracy table c do i=1,n do j=0,i if(i.eq.j.or.j.eq.0) then 8

9 deg(i,j)=4 else deg(i,j)=8 end if end do end do deg(0,0)=1 c c Now calculate the Madelung sum c sum=0.0 do i=1,n do j=0,i p=sqrt(i**2+j**2) sum=sum+((-1)**(i+j))*deg(i,j)/p end do end do y performing the sum in this way, we saved a factor of 8! In fact, in three-dimensions, the savings is much greater, and real band structure calculations (eg. those of F.J. Pinski) always make use of the point group symmetry to accelerate the calculations. The next question is then, could we do the same thing for a more complicated system (fcc in 3d?). To do this, we need some way of 9

10 classifying the symmetries of the system that we want to apply. Group theory allows us to learn the consequences of the symmetry in much more complicated systems. group S is defined as a set {E,,, C } which is closed under a binary operation (ie. S) and: the binary operation is associative ( ) C = ( C) there exists an identity E S : E = E = For each S, there exists an 1 S : 1 = 1 = E In the point group context, the operations are inversions, reflections, rotations, and improper rotations (inversion rotations). The binary operation is any combination of these; i.e. inversion followed by a rotation. In the example we just considered we may classify the operations that we have already used. Clearly we need 2!2 2 of these (ie we can choose to take (x,y) to any permutation of (x,y) and choose either ± for each, in D-dimensions, there would be D!2 D operations). In table. 1, all of these operations are identified The reflections are self inverting as is the inversion and one of the rotations and inversion rotations. The set is clearly also closed. lso, since their are 8 operations, clearly the interior points in the irreducible wedge are 8-fold degenerate (w.r.t. the Madelung sum). This is always the case. Using the group operations one may always reduce the calculation to an irreducible wedge. They the degeneracy of 10

11 peration (x, y) (x, y) (x, y) (x, y) (x, y) ( x, y) (x, y) ( x, y) (x, y) (y, x) (x, y) (y, x) (x, y) ( y, x) (x, y) ( y, x) Identification Identity reflection about x axis reflection about y axis inversion reflection about x = y rotation by π/2 about z inversion-reflection inversion-rotation Table 1: Point group symmetry operations for the two-dimensional square lattice. ll of the group elements are self-inverting except for the sixth and eight, which are inverses of each other. each point in the wedge may be determined: Since a group operation takes a point in the wedge to either itself or an equivalent point in the lattice, and the former (latter) does (does not) contribute the the degeneracy, the degeneracy of each point times the number of operations which leave the point invariant must equal the number of symmetry operations in the group. Thus, points with the lowest symmetry (invariant only under the identity) have a degeneracy of the group size. 2.3 Group designations Point groups are usually designated by their Schönflies point group symbol described in table. 2 s an example, consider the previous ex- 11

12 Symbol C j S j D j T C i C s Meaning (j=2,3,4, 6) j-fold rotation axis j-fold rotation-inversion axis j 2-fold rotation axes to a j-fold principle rotation axis 4 three-and 3 two-fold rotation axes, as in a tetrahedron 4 three-and 3 four-fold rotation axes, as in a octahedron a center of inversion a mirror plane Table 2: The Schönflies point group symbols. These give the classification according to rotation axes and principle mirror planes. In addition, their are suffixes for mirror planes (h: horizontal=perpendicular to the rotation axis, v: vertical=parallel to the main rotation axis in the plane, d: diagonal=parallel to the main rotation axis in the plane bisecting the two-fold rotation axes). ample of a square lattice. It is invariant under rotations to the page by π/2 mirror planes in the horizontal and vertical (x and y axes) mirror planes along the diagonal (x=y, x=-y). The mirror planes are parallel to the main rotation axis which is itself a 4-fold axis and thus the group for the square lattice is C 4v. 12

13 3 Simple Crystal Structures 3.1 FCC Face Centered bic (FCC) Close-packed planes Principle lattice vectors z x b a c a = (x+y)/2 b = (x+z)/2 c = (y+z)/2 y 3-fold axes 4-fold axes Figure 6: The ravais lattice of a face-centered cubic (FCC) structure. s shown on the left, the fcc structure is composed of parallel planes of atoms, with each atom surrounded by 6 others in the plane. The total coordination number (the number of nearest neighbors) is 12. The principle lattice vectors (center) each have length 1/ 2 of the unit cell length. The lattice has four 3-fold axes, and three 4-fold axes as shown on the right. In addition, each plane shown on the left has the principle 6-fold rotation axis to it, but since the planes are shifted relative to one another, they do not share 6-fold axes. Thus, four-fold axes are the principle axes, and since they each have a perpendicular mirror plane, the point group for the fcc lattice is h. The fcc structure is one of the close packed structures, appropriate for metals, with 12 nearest neighbors to each site (i.e., a coordination number of 12). The ravais lattice for the fcc structure is shown in Fig. 6 It is composed of parallel planes of nearest neighbors (with six 13

14 nearest neighbors to each site in the plane) Metals often form into an fcc structure. There are two reasons for this. First, as discussed before, the s and p bonding is typically very long-ranged and therefore rather non-directional. (In fact, when the p-bonding is short ranged, the bcc structure is favored.) This naturally leads to a close packed structure. Second, to whatever degree there is a d-electron overlap in the transition metals, they prefer the fcc structure. To see this, consider the d-orbitals shown in Fig. 7 centered on one of the face centers with the face the xy plane. Each lobe of the d xy, d yz, and d xz orbitals points to a near neighbor. The xz,xy,yz triplet form rather strong bonds. The d x2 y 2 and d 3z 2 r2 orbitals do not since they point away from the nearest neighbors. Thus the triplet of states form strong bonding and anti-bonding bands, while the doublet states do not split. The system can gain energy by occupying the triplet bonding states, thus many metals form fcc structures. ccording to shcroft and Mermin, these include Ca, Sr, Rh, Ir, Ni, Pd, Pt,, g, u, l, and Pb. The fcc structure also explains why metals are ductile since adjacent planes can slide past one another. In addition each plane has a 6-fold rotation axis perpendicular to it, but since 2 adjacent planes are shifted relative to another, the rotation axes perpendicular to the planes are 3-fold, with one along the each main diagonal of the unit cell. There are also 4-fold axes through each center of the cube with mirror planes 14

15 z z z dxz y d xy y d yz y x x x z d x 2 - y 2 y z d 2 2 3z - r y x x Figure 7: The d-orbitals. In an fcc structure, the triplet of orbitals shown on top all point towards nearest neighbors; whereas, the bottom doublet point away. Thus the triplet can form bonding and antibonding states. perpendicular to it. Thus the fcc point group is h. In fact, this same argument also applies to the bcc and sc lattices, so h is the appropriate group for all cubic ravais lattices and is often called the cubic group. 3.2 HCP s shown in Fig. 8 the Hexagonal Close Packed (HCP) structure is described by the D 3h point group. The HCP structure (cf. Fig. 9) is similar to the FCC structure, but it does not correspond to a ravais lattice (in fact there are five cubic point groups, but only three cubic ravais lattices). s with fcc its coordination number is 12. The simplest way to construct it is to form one hexagonal plane and then add two identical ones top and bottom. Thus its stacking is... 15

16 3-fold axis mirror plane three 2-fold axes in plane Figure 8: The symmetry of the HCP lattice. The principle rotation axis is perpendicular to the two-dimensional hexagonal lattices which are stacked to form the hcp structure. In addition, there is a mirror plane centered within one of these hexagonal 2d structures, which contains three 2-fold axes. Thus the point group is D 3h. of the planes. This shifting of the planes clearly disrupts the d-orbital bonding advantage gained in fcc, nevertheless many metals form this structure including e, Mg, Sc, Y, La, Ti, Zr, Hf, Tc, Re, Ru, s, Co, Zn, Cd, and Tl. 3.3 CC Just like the simple cubic and fcc lattices, the body-centered cubic (CC) lattice (cf. Fig. 4) has four 3-fold axes, 3 4-fold axes, with mirror planes perpendicular to the 4-fold axes, and therefore belongs to the h point group. The body centered cubic structure only has a coordination number of 8. Nevertheless some metals form into a CC lattice (a V Nb, Ta W M, in addition Cr and Fe have bcc phases.) onding of p-orbitals is 16

17 FCC HCP C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C These spaces unfilled Figure 9: comparison of the FCC (left) and HCP (right) close packed structures. The HCP structure does not have a simple ravais unit cell, but may be constructed by alternately stacking two-dimensional hexagonal lattices. In contract, the FCC structure may be constructed by sequentially stacking three shifted hexagonal twodimensional lattices. ideal in a CC lattice since the nnn lattice is simply composed of two interpenetrating cubic lattices. This structure allows the next-nearest neighbor p-orbitals to overlap more significantly than an fcc (or hcp) structure would. This increases the effective coordination number by including the next nearest neighbor shell in the bonding (cf. Fig. 10). 17

18 R(r) 2 1 1s fcc bcc 2s,2p o r() Figure 10: bsolute square of the radial part of the electronic wavefunction. For the bcc lattice, both the 8 nearest, and 6 next nearest neighbors lie in a region of relatively high electronic density. This favors the formation of a bcc over fcc lattice for some elemental metals (This figure was lifted from I&L). 18

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