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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 9;100(18):185501. Epub 2008 May 5.

Metadynamics simulations of the high-pressure phases of silicon employing a high-dimensional neural network potential.

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Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, USI-Campus, Via Giuseppe Buffi 13, CH-6900 Lugano, Switzerland.


We study in a systematic way the complex sequence of the high-pressure phases of silicon obtained upon compression by combining an accurate high-dimensional neural network representation of the density-functional theory potential-energy surface with the metadynamics scheme. Starting from the thermodynamically stable diamond structure at ambient conditions we are able to identify all structural phase transitions up to the highest-pressure fcc phase at about 100 GPa. The results are in excellent agreement with experiment. The method developed promises to be of great value in the study of inorganic solids, including those having metallic phases.

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