Phase-field-crystal methodology for modeling of structural transformations
We introduce and characterize free-energy functionals for modeling of solids with different crystallographic symmetries within the phase-field-crystal methodology. The excess free energy responsible for the emergence of periodic phases is inspired by classical density-functional theory, but uses only a minimal description for the modes of the direct correlation function to preserve computational efficiency. We provide a detailed prescription for controlling the crystal structure and introduce parameters for changing temperature and surface energies, so that phase transformations between body-centered-cubic (bcc), face-centered-cubic (fcc), hexagonal-close-packed (hcp), and simple-cubic (sc) lattices can be studied. To illustrate the versatility of our free-energy functional, we compute the phase diagram for fcc-bcc-liquid coexistence in the temperature-density plane. We also demonstrate that our model can be extended to include hcp symmetry by dynamically simulating hcp-liquid coexistence from a seeded crystal nucleus. We further quantify the dependence of the elastic constants on the model control parameters in two and three dimensions, showing how the degree of elastic anisotropy can be tuned from the shape of the direct correlation functions.