Equiatomic binary phases of Copper-Rare Earth Elements. An overview of monocuprides from first-principles calculations

Riccarda Caputo*, Cem Oran, Adem Tekin*, Pierre Villars*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Equiatomic binary phases of copper with rare earth (RE) elements exhibit either primitive cubic ((Formula presented.)) 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200718
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2023

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  • DFT
  • DFT+U
  • monocuprides
  • rare earth binary compounds
  • thermodynamic stability


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