Defect energetics of concentrated solid-solution alloys from ab initio calculations: Ni0.5Co0.5, Ni0.5Fe0.5, Ni0.8Fe0.2 and Ni0.8Cr0.2
It has been shown that concentrated solid solution alloys possess unusual electronic, magnetic, transport, mechanical and radiation-resistant properties that are directly related to underlying chemical complexity. Because every atom experiences a different local atomic environment, the formation and migration energies of vacancies and interstitials in these alloys exhibit a distribution, rather than a single value as in a pure metal or dilute alloy. Using ab initio calculations based on density functional theory and special quasirandom structures, we have characterized the distribution of defect formation energy and migration barrier in four Ni-based solid-solution alloys: Ni0.5Co0.5, Ni0.5Fe0.5, Ni0.8Fe0.2, and Ni0.8Cr0.2. As defect formation energies in finite-size models depend sensitively on the elemental chemical potential, we have developed a computationally efficient method for determining it which takes into account the global composition and the local short-range order. In addition we have compared the results of our ab initio calculations to those obtained from available embedded atom method (EAM) potentials. Our results indicate that the defect formation and migration energies are closely related to the specific atoms in the structure, which further determines the elemental diffusion properties. Different EAM potentials yield different features of defect energetics in concentrated alloys, pointing to the need for additional potential development efforts in order to allow spatial and temporal scale-up of defect and simulations, beyond those accessible to ab initio methods.