Circular dichroism predictions published in Phys. Rev. Materials


C. Multunas, A. Grieder, J. Xu, Y. Ping and R. Sundararaman, “Circular dichroism of crystals from first principles”, Phys. Rev. Materials 7, 123801 (2023)

Chiral crystals show promise for spintronic technologies on account of their high spin selectivity, which has led to significant recent interest in quantitative characterization and first-principles prediction of their spin-optoelectronics properties. Here, we outline a computational framework for efficient ab initio calculations of circular dichroism (CD) in crystalline materials. We leverage direct calculations of orbital angular momentum and quadrupole matrix element calculations in density-functional theory (DFT) and Wannier interpolation to calculate CD in complex materials, removing the need for band convergence and accelerating Brillouin-zone convergence compared to prior approaches. We find strong agreement with measured CD signals in molecules and crystals ranging in complexity from small bulk unit cells to 2D hybrid perovskites, and show the importance of the quadrupole contribution to the anisotropic CD in crystals. Spin-orbit coupling affects the CD of crystals with heavier atoms, as expected, but this is primarily due to changes in the electronic energies, rather than due to direct contributions from the spin matrix elements. We showcase the capability to predict CD for complex structures on a 2D hybrid perovskite, finding strong orientation dependence and identifying the eigen-directions of the unit cell with the strongest CD. We additionally decompose CD into separate contributions from inorganic, organic, and mixed organic-inorganic transitions, finding the chiral molecules to dominate the CD, with the inorganic lattice contributing at higher frequencies in specific directions. This unprecedented level of detail in CD predictions in crystals will facilitate experimental development of complex chiral crystals for spin selectivity.