Z. Tang, H. Zhao, G. Li and N. R. Aluru
Physical Review B, 74, Art. No. 064110 (2006).
n this paper, we extend the quasicontinuum approach for a multiscale analysis of silicon nanostructures at finite temperature. The quasicontinuum method uses the classical continuum mechanics framework, but the constitutive response of the system is determined by employing an atomistic description. For finite-temperature solid systems under isothermal conditions, the constitutive response is determined by using the Helmholtz free energy density. The static part of the Helmholtz free energy density is obtained directly from the interatomic potential while the vibrational part is calculated by using the theory of quantum-mechanical lattice dynamics. Specifically, we investigate three quasiharmonic models, namely the real space quasiharmonic model, the local quasiharmonic model, and the reciprocal space quasiharmonic model, to compute the vibrational free energy. Using the finite-temperature quasicontinuum method, we compute the effect of the temperature and strain on the phonon density of states, phonon Gruneisen parameters, and the elastic properties of the Tersoff silicon. We also compute the mechanical response of silicon nanostructures for various external loads and the results are compared to molecular dynamics simulations.