Phases of polonium via density functional theory

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The thermodynamical properties of the main phases of metallic polonium are examined using density functional theory. The exceptional nature of the solid-solid phase transition of α to β Po is underlined: it induces a lowering in symmetry, from cubic to rhombohedral, with increasing temperature. This is explained as the result of a delicate balance between bonding and entropic effects. Overall agreement with existing experimental data is good by state-of-the-art standards. The phonons of Po present Kohn anomalies, and it is shown that the effect of spin-orbit interactions is the inverse of that in normal metals: due to the nonspherical nature of the Fermi Surface, spin-orbit effects reduce nesting and harden most phonon frequencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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