Publication date: Aug 20, 2021
The renormalization of electronic eigenenergies due to electron-phonon coupling (temperature dependence and zero-point motion effect) is sizable in many materials with light atoms. This effect, often neglected in ab initio calculations, can be computed using the perturbation-based Allen-Heine-Cardona theory in the adiabatic or non-adiabatic harmonic approximation. After a short description of the recent progresses in this field and a brief overview of the theory, we focus on the issue of phonon wavevector sampling convergence, until now poorly understood. Indeed, the renormalization is obtained numerically through a slowly converging q-point integration. For non-zero Born effective charges, we show that a divergence appears in the electron-phonon matrix elements at q → Γ, leading to a divergence of the adiabatic renormalization at band extrema. This problem is exacerbated by the slow convergence of Born effective charges with electronic wavevector sampling, which leaves residual Born effective charges in ab initio calculations on materials that are physically devoid of such charges. Here, we propose a solution that improves this convergence. However, for materials where Born effective charges are physically non-zero, the divergence of the renormalization indicates a breakdown of the adiabatic harmonic approximation, which we assess here by switching to the non-adiabatic harmonic approximation. Also, we study the convergence behavior of the renormalization and develop reliable extrapolation schemes to obtain the converged results. Finally, the adiabatic and non-adiabatic theories, with corrections for the slow Born effective charge convergence problem (and the associated divergence) are applied to the study of five semiconductors and insulators: α-AlN, β-AlN, BN, diamond, and silicon. For these five materials, we present the zero-point renormalization, temperature dependence, phonon-induced lifetime broadening, and the renormalized electronic band structure.
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