The precise driving force of the phase transition in indium nanowires on Si(111) has been controversial whether it is driven by a Peierls instability or by a simple energy lowering due to a periodic lattice distortion. The present van der Waals (vdW) corrected hybrid density functional calculation predicts that the low-temperature structure whose building blocks are indium hexagons is energetically favored over the room-temperature structure. We show that the correction of self-interaction error and the inclusion of vdW interactions play crucial roles in describing the covalent bonding, band-gap opening, and energetics of hexagon structures. The results manifest that the formation of hexagons occurs by a simple energy lowering due to the lattice distortion, not by a charge density wave formation arising from Fermi surface nesting.
- Received 16 December 2012
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