Equiatomic binary monocuprides of rare earth elements (RECu) mainly show an orthorhombic stable modification in the light rare-earth (RE) region and a cubic one in the heavy RE region.
Equiatomic binary phases of copper with rare earth (RE) elements exhibit either primitive cubic (
) or orthorhombic (Pnma) structures and in some cases both. By using density functional theory (DFT), we calculated the enthalpies of formation along the series of RE elements combined equimolarly with copper. For RE from Sc to Lu, the calculated enthalpies of formation fall in the range −49.8 kJ/mol for LuCu to −9.1 kJ/mol for the least thermodynamically stable CeCu. Except NdCu, all the other cubic or orthorhombic compounds exhibit lattice stability. Either forms of NdCu indicated lattice instability. Along the Sc-group, the hypothetical primitive cubic and orthorhombic forms of LuCu are found thermodynamically and mechanically stable. The overall trend of the formation enthalpies as a function of the Meyer Periodic Number is consistent with the energy trend of the 4 f-orbital filling as moving from Sc to Lu monocuprides. In addition, the calculated Gibbs free energies indicate that the thermodynamic stability is largely due to the entropic contributions. All standard DFT calculations were also repeated with DFT+U to better describe the correlation between the 5d–4f and 3d shells of RECu compounds. It has been found that DFT+U slightly affects the enthalpies of formation of RECu binaries. Moreover, DFT+U shifts up the f-band energies of RECu with light RE elements (such as La, Ce and Pr) and in contrast lowers them in the case of RECu with heavy RE elements from Nd to Lu.Zum Volltext