Microscopic theory of the insulating electronic ground states of the actinide dioxides AnO2 (An = U, Np, Pu, Am, and Cm)

M. T. Suzuki, N. Magnani, P. M. Oppeneer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The electronic states of the actinide dioxides AnO2 (with An = U, Np, Pu, Am, and Cm) are investigated employing first-principles calculations within the framework of the local density approximation +U (LDA+U) approach, implemented in a full-potential linearized augmented plane-wave scheme. A systematic analysis of the An-5f states is performed which provides intuitive connections between the electronic structures and the local crystalline fields of the f states in the AnO2 series. Particularly the mechanisms leading to the experimentally observed insulating ground states are investigated. These are found to be caused by the strong spin-orbit and Coulomb interactions of the 5f orbitals; however, as a result of the different configurations, this mechanism works in distinctly different ways for each of the AnO2 compounds. In agreement with experimental observations, the nonmagnetic states of plutonium and curium dioxide are computed to be insulating, whereas those of uranium, neptunium, and americium dioxides require additional symmetry breaking to reproduce the insulator ground states, a condition which is met with magnetic phase transitions. We show that the occupancy of the An-f orbitals is closely connected to each of the appearing insulating mechanisms. We furthermore investigate the detailed constitution of the noncollinear multipolar moments for transverse 3q magnetic ordered states in UO2 and longitudinal 3q high-rank multipolar ordered states in NpO2 and AmO2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195146
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume88
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov 25
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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