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    ABSTRACT: The observed shear-wave velocity VS in Earth's core is much lower than expected from mineralogical models derived from both calculations and experiments. A number of explanations have been proposed, but none sufficiently explain the seismological observations. Using ab initio molecular dynamics simulations, we obtained the elastic properties of hexagonal close-packed iron (hcp-Fe) at 360 gigapascals up to its melting temperature Tm. We found that Fe shows a strong nonlinear shear weakening just before melting (when T/Tm > 0.96), with a corresponding reduction in VS. Because temperatures range from T/Tm = 1 at the inner-outer core boundary to T/Tm ≈ 0.99 at the center, this strong nonlinear effect on VS should occur in the inner core, providing a compelling explanation for the low VS observed.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Science
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    ABSTRACT: We show that bimetallic surface alloying provides a viable route for governing the interaction between graphene and metal through the selective choice of the elemental composition of the surface alloy. This concept is illustrated by an experimental and theoretical characterization of the properties of graphene on a model PtRu surface alloy on Ru(0001), with a concentration of Pt atoms in the first layer between 0 and 50%. The progressive increase of the Pt content determines the gradual detachment of graphene from the substrate, which results from the modification of the carbon orbital hybridization promoted by Pt. Alloying is also found to affect the morphology of graphene, which is strongly corrugated on bare Ru, but becomes flat at a Pt coverage of 50%. The method here proposed can be readily extended to several supports, thus opening the way to the conformal growth of graphene on metals and to a full tunability of the graphene-substrate interaction.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: We show the feasibility of using quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) to compute benchmark energies for configuration samples of thermal-equilibrium water clusters and the bulk liquid containing up to 64 molecules. Evidence that the accuracy of these benchmarks approaches that of basis-set converged coupled-cluster calculations is noted. We illustrate the usefulness of the benchmarks by using them to analyze the errors of the popular BLYP approximation of density functional theory (DFT). The results indicate the possibility of using QMC as a routine tool for analyzing DFT errors for non-covalent bonding in many types of condensed-phase molecular system.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
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