Pressure-enabled phonon engineering in metals

Nicholas A. Lanzillo, Jay B. Thomas, Bruce Watson, Morris Washington, Saroj K. Nayak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We present a combined first-principles and experimental study of the electrical resistivity in aluminum and copper samples under pressures up to 2 GPa. The calculations are based on first-principles density functional perturbation theory, whereas the experimental setup uses a solid media piston-cylinder apparatus at room temperature. We find that upon pressurizing each metal, the phonon spectra are blue-shifted and the net electron-phonon interaction is suppressed relative to the unstrained crystal. This reduction in electron-phonon scattering results in a decrease in the electrical resistivity under pressure, which is more pronounced for aluminum than for copper. We show that density functional perturbation theory can be used to accurately predict the pressure response of the electrical resistivity in these metals. This work demonstrates how the phonon spectra in metals can be engineered through pressure to achieve more attractive electrical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8712-8716
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Density functional theory
  • Electron-phonon coupling
  • High-pressure conductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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