First principles study of the vibrational and thermal properties of Sn-based type II clathrates, CsxSn136 (0 ≤ x ≤ 24) and Rb24Ga24Sn112

Dong Xue, Charles W. Myles

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After performing first-principles calculations of structural and vibrational properties of the semiconducting clathrates Rb24Ga24Sn112 along with binary CsxSn136 (0 ≤ x ≤ 24), we obtained equilibrium geometries and harmonic phonon modes. For the filled clathrate Rb24Ga24Sn112, the phonon dispersion relation predicts an upshift of the low-lying rattling modes (~25 cm-1) for the Rb ("rattler") compared to Cs vibration in CsxSn136. It is also found that the large isotropic atomic displacement parameter (Uiso) exists when Rb occupies the "over-sized" cage (28 atom cage) rather than the 20 atom counterpart. These guest modes are expected to contribute significantly to minimizing the lattice's thermal conductivity (κL). Our calculation of the vibrational contribution to the specific heat and our evaluation on κL are quantitatively presented and discussed. Specifically, the heat capacity diagram regarding CV/T3 vs. T exhibits the Einstein-peak-like hump that is mainly attributable to the guest oscillator in a 28 atom cage, with a characteristic temperature 36.82 K for Rb24Ga24Sn112. Our calculated rattling modes are around 25 cm-1 for the Rb trapped in a 28 atom cage, and 65.4 cm-1 for the Rb encapsulated in a 20 atom cage. These results are utilized to predict the lattice's thermal conductivity (approximately 0.62W/m/K) in Rb24Ga24Sn112 within the kinetic theory approximation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Einstein oscillator
  • Excess specific heat
  • Isotropic atomic displacement parameter
  • Lattice thermal conductivity


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