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Ab initio investigation of structural and electronic properties on 1D and 2D nanomaterials

Authors: Wenwen Cui

Ref.: PhD thesis, Université Claude Bernard - Lyon 1 (2017)

Abstract: In this thesis we mainly use the density functional tight-binding method (DFTB) to investigate the effect of high pressure on carbon nanotubes (CNTs). We start by investigating the collapse behavior of individualized CNTs, either empty or filled with water and carbon dioxide molecules. Then we study the collapse process of bundled few-wall (double, triple wall) carbon nanotubes as the function of pressure combining theoretical and experimental studies. Afterwards, we investigate the electronic and magnetic properties of a monolayer MoS2 on the Ni(111) surface with accounting for van der Waals interactions by the density functional theory (DFT). The manuscript is structured in 7 chapters and the following paragraphs summarize the content by chapter of this document.Chapter 1 is our introduction of this thesis, including the motivation and background of our topic as well as our important findings and results. Chapter 2 introduces the main concepts and definitions of CNTs. Then we describe the electronic properties of CNTs as well graphene as a comparison. Chapter 3 consists of the theoretical framework used for our study. Firstly, a short introduction of Density Functional Theory (DFT) is presented. Next we list two mainly used exchange-correlation functions in DFT, then followed by an overview of van der Waals functions which normal DFT cannot account for. Finally, we briefly introduces the Density Functional Tight-Binding method (DFTB) which we use for our CNTs modeling simulation.In chapter 4, we present simulations of the collapse under hydrostatic pressure of carbon nanotubes containing either water or carbon dioxide. We show that the molecules inside the tube alter the dynamics of the collapse process, providing either mechanical support and increasing the collapse pressure, or reducing mechanical stability. At the same time the nanotube acts as a nanoanvil, and the confinement leads to the nanostructuring of the molecules inside the collapsed tube. In this way, depending on the pressure and on the concentration of water or carbon dioxide inside the nanotube, we observe the formation of 1D molecular chains, 2D nanoribbons, and even molecular single and multi-wall nanotubes. For the perfect empty CNTs, collapse behavior theoretically is barely affected by the PTM environment under high pressure but only mainly is determined by the CNTs diameter. Our simulation using DFTB method gives good agreement both for the d dependence predicted by continuum mechanics models and for the deviation at small d which is at least partly due to the atomistic nature of the carbon nanotubes. In chapter 5, we present a theoretical study of the collapse process of single-, double and triple-wall CNTs as a function of pressure. Our theoretical simulations were performed using DFTB for inner tube diameters ranging from 0.6 nm to 3.3 nm. When the walls are separated by the graphitic distance, we show that the radial collapse pressure, Pc, is mainly determined by the diameter of the innermost tube, din and its value significantly deviates from the usual Pcdin-3 Lévy-Carrier law. A modified expression, Pcdin3= (1- 2/din2) with  and  numerical parameters is proposed. In chapter 6 we investigate the electronic and magnetic properties of a monolayer of MoS2 deposited on a Ni(111) surface using DFT method. Accounting for van der Waals interactions is found to be essential to stabilize the chemisorbed MoS2 monolayer. The interface is metallic due to Mo d states positioned at the Fermi energy, with a Schottky barrier of 0.3 eV and a high tunneling probability for electrons. Small magnetic moments are induced on Mo and S atoms, while we measure a significant demagnetization of the Ni layer at the interface. Finally the last chapter synthesizes the main results of this work presenting also some perspectives