Date of Award:


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Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




D. Mark Riffe


I have used the Embedded Atom Method (EAM) to investigate the vibrational behaviors of a large number of metallic systems. The systems examined are the bulk bcc metals Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Nb, Ta, Mo, W, and Fe, the bulk fcc metals Ni, Cu, and Al, the (100), (110), (111), and (211) surfaces of the Li, Na, K, Rb, and Cs, and the (100), (110), and (111) surfaces of Ni and Cu. I have conducted a more detailed and extensive review of existing EAM models and their ability to characterize bulk vibrational behavior than has ever previously been reported. I show the ability of an EAM model to quantitatively predict the vibrational properties of the bulk alkali metals in excellent agreement with experiment. The present work remedies a lack of computational investigation into bcc metallic surfaces by performing lattice dynamics calculations of the (110), (100), (111), and (211) alkali metal surfaces. Additionally, I present lattice dynamics calculations on the (111), (100), and (110) surfaces of Cu and Ni. An accurate set of surface Debye temperatures for these metal surfaces has been calculated. The extensive number of metals and planar geometries studied has enabled the identification and clarification of general relationships between surface phonons, surface coordination, and atomic density. The changes in vibrational behavior due to the truncation of the bulk near a surface can be understood by the consideration of three things: the vibrational behavior of a 1-D chain of harmonic oscillators, the bulk dispersion relation in the direction perpendicular to a surface, and the atomic coordination of near surface atoms. In general, relaxation causes force constants between atoms to stiffen, resulting in higher vibrational frequencies. The impact of stiffening on the vibrational characteristics depends largely on the surface geometry, as well as the particular properties of the metal. It can cause new surface modes and resonances, or cause surface vibrations to be more strongly coupled to the vibrations of bulk atoms.


This work made publicly available electronically on April 24, 2012.

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