research papers
Representational analysis of extended disorder in atomistic ensembles derived from total scattering data
^{a}Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, CO 805231872, USA, and ^{b}Department of Chemistry, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA
^{*}Correspondence email: james.neilson@colostate.edu
With the increased availability of highintensity timeofflight neutron and synchrotron Xray scattering sources that can access wide ranges of momentum transfer, the pair distribution function method has become a standard analysis technique for studying disorder of local coordination spheres and at intermediate atomic separations. In some cases, rational modeling of the total scattering data (Bragg and diffuse) becomes intractable with leastsquares approaches, necessitating reverse Monte Carlo simulations using large atomistic ensembles. However, the extraction of meaningful information from the resulting atomistic ensembles is challenging, especially at intermediate length scales. Representational analysis is used here to describe the displacements of atoms in reverse Monte Carlo ensembles from an ideal crystallographic structure in an approach analogous to tightbinding methods. Rewriting the displacements in terms of a local basis that is descriptive of the ideal
provides a robust approach to characterizing mediumrange order (and disorder) and symmetry breaking in complex and disordered crystalline materials. This method enables the extraction of statistically relevant displacement modes (orientation, amplitude and distribution) of the crystalline disorder and provides directly meaningful information in a locally symmetryadapted basis set that is most descriptive of the crystal chemistry and physics.1. Introduction
Achieving an atomistic description of solids continues to provide a challenge to the study of materials, especially as we learn that imperfections and disorder of crystals can give rise to the emergence of unexpected materials properties. For example, the multifunctional properties of the perovskite manganites can only be explained by understanding the relationships between the local and average structures (Božin et al., 2007; Wu et al., 2007). Therefore, we strive to further classify and quantify the nature of any local ordering (shortrange order) that is patterned in a disordered fashion. Pair distribution function (PDF) analysis of total scattering data has become a common technique for the characterization of local distortions and disorder in crystals, as well as of nanoparticle structures (Egami & Billinge, 2012; Billinge & Levin, 2007; Young & Goodwin, 2011; Keen & Goodwin, 2015).
Modeling of atomistic structures – with an emphasis on capturing the correct local structure – from experimentally derived atom–atom histograms poses a great challenge, especially when the best description of the PDF has a short finite correlation length (a domain) that becomes averaged into a higher symmetry in the crystallographic structure. To obtain an atomistic description of such a model with these domains (where each domain consists of a few unit cells), simulations containing thousands of atoms can be used to model the total scattering data. By employing a largescale simulation, the limitations from periodic boundary conditions are lifted, thus allowing disordered aspects of the structure either to average out into the Debye–Waller factor in the case of crystalline disorder, or to lack any attributes of longrange order over the range of data provided in et al., 1974; McGreevy & Pusztai, 1988; Elliott, 1984). However, analysis of these largescale atomistic ensembles containing thousands of atoms has been nontrivial, both in the challenge of extracting information relative to the average crystallographic structure and also in providing statistically meaningful information; there are typically many more free parameters in these simulations than there are independent observations (i.e. data).
(after convolution with the finite size of the simulation) in order to describe amorphous solids (RenningerHerein, we develop a systematic approach for analyzing the disorder in large atomistic simulations of complex crystal structures using representational analysis. The determination of crystallographic superstructures resulting from displacive distortions via symmetrymode analysis of a statistical distribution of ensembles has proven to be very powerful (cf. WO_{3} and LaMnO_{3}) (Kerman et al., 2012). Another similar approach, but coupled to a different analysis, has also made it possible to extract phonon dispersions from powder diffraction data (Dimitrov et al., 1999; Goodwin et al., 2004, 2005). Here, we use a variation of this technique adapted to the understanding of local structural variations by projecting displacements of atoms from their average crystallographic sites in atomistic ensembles onto a tightbindinglike basis formed from the symmetryadapted^{1} modes of a single as depicted in Fig. 1; we define these modes as `tightbinding modes'. When displacements from an ideal crystallographic site are projected onto this locally symmetryadapted basis, the disorder can be quantified and statistically analyzed to determine the frequency of specific displacement magnitudes and orientations. This manuscript outlines the analytical method and presents two illustrative applications of the method: the observation of a trigonal distortion in BaTiO_{3} at room temperature and the identification of the local displacement modes in the chargeice pyrochlore Bi_{2}Ti_{2}O_{7}. More broadly, our approach is equally important for the analysis of experimental diffraction and scattering data (Shoemaker et al., 2010; Shoemaker & Seshadri, 2010; King et al., 2011), ab initio and forcefieldbased simulations (Dixon & Elliott, 2014; Palin et al., 2014), and combinations of the two (White et al., 2010a,b). Furthermore, this approach provides a common language and representation for bridging experiment and theoryderived models.
2. Method
2.1. Introduction to total scattering methods
The analytical method described here operates on an ensemble of atoms that can be described as a enlarged `big box' generated from small crystallographic unit cells. The atom positions need not sit on precisely ordered lattice sites; however, upon backfolding the bigbox ensemble onto the parent i.e. the model may be paracrystalline). This method is agnostic to how the models are generated; the authors refer the reader to Egami & Billinge (2012), Young & Goodwin (2011), Keen & Goodwin (2015) and Tucker et al. (2007, 2001) for descriptions of modeling total scattering data.
the average atom positions should project close to particular lattice sites, each with a position distribution resembling something like a Debye–Waller factor (Here, we use `total scattering' to refer to the scattering of Xrays or neutrons that describes the ). If the total scattering S(Q), is measured to a sufficiently high momentum transfer [Q_{max} 15 Å^{−1}; Q = (4πsinθ)/λ, where θ is half the scattering angle and λ is the wavelength of the incident radiation, one can numerically take a sine Fourier transform to convert S(Q) into the reduced PDF, G(r):
of the (diffraction from periodically ordered components) and the diffuse scattering that can arise from displacements of atoms from their ideal lattice points, including displacements from thermal motion and static disorder in the crystal (Egami & Billinge, 2012where ρ_{0} is the average of the material and g(r) is the atomic PDF. The atomic PDF, g(r), is a direct measure of the relative positions of the atoms in a solid, i.e. an experimentally accessible realspace histogram of all atom–atom separations in the solid (of both periodically ordered and disordered atoms). Because of the crystallographic without the use of isotopic labeling or it is not possible to assign peaks directly in the PDF to specific atoms, so atomic scale modeling must be used to make assignments to individual peaks.
`Smallbox' models, which allow the extraction of bond lengths and a description of the thermal motion (i.e. Debye–Waller factors), can be obtained from leastsquares (LS) optimization of a crystallographic or some small variant thereof, to the experimental PDF using the software PDFgui (Egami & Billinge, 2012; Proffen & Billinge, 1999; Farrow et al., 2007). LS optimization is susceptible to finding local minima in the goodnessoffit and is numerically cumbersome when the model contains many as applicable here. Additionally, these shortrangeordered models often fail to provide an accurate description of the crystallographic observations (Neilson et al., 2012, 2013; King et al., 2013).
A complimentary approach to extract atomistic configurations from the PDF is to model simultaneously both the crystallographic G(r) and S(Q) (Tucker et al., 2007, 2001).
and the PDF by employing a `largebox' simulation of the total scattering data. A reverse Monte Carlo (RMC) algorithm can be used to find atomistic configurations of the ensemble consistent with both the experimentally determined2.2. Coordinate transform and decomposition
The goal of this method is to define the atomic configurations of an ensemble as displacements from the ideal crystallographic positions. Here, we define a `big' or `large box' as an M_{x} × M_{y} × M_{z} enlargement of the crystallographic to form an atomistic ensemble, but no attempt is made to constrain the symmetry between atoms, within either the subcells or the `large box'. The simplest such basis is simply to write down displacement vectors, in Cartesian or lattice coordinates, for each atom in the ensemble. Each atom within the crystallographic i has a unique position defined by a vector x_{i,n}. The vector R_{n} describes the spatial vector between each n within the ensemble. Each atom can be mapped as a displacement from its ideal position in the crystallographic , by = − , where the values are often determined from a traditional crystallographic analysis (Rietveld analysis or singlecrystal structural refinement). Such a representation is shown schematically in Fig. 2(a) for a simple twodimensional `toy' model, a 2 × 1 `big box' built from a crystallographic with two atoms and C_{4} symmetry. While straightforward to compute, this basis (the displacement vectors) lacks any connection to the symmetries that are present, locally or on average, and is thus difficult to interpret. A more refined approach is to rewrite the displacements in terms of the normal modes of the crystallographic structure, with amplitudes and phases for every mode at every wavevector in the (as determined by the of each wavevector). This normalmode basis provides physical insight because the atomic displacements are mapped onto symmetrydefined motions away from their ideal positions, and correlations between unit cells are captured. There is, however, an even better choice of basis that keeps many of the advantages of the classic normalmode approach but retains physical insight into the local symmetry changes.
First, the local tightbinding (i.e. locally symmetryadapted) modes are identified. This is accomplished by rewriting all possible atomic motions within a single into motions consistent with the of the crystal at the center, k = (0, 0, 0). Each motion (or mode) can be labeled according to the irreducible representation (irrep) that it transforms under in the group and is described by a set of basis vectors describing the actual atomic motions. Identification of these tightbinding modes is straightforward: basis vectors spanning each irreducible representation for each have been tabulated by Kovalev (1993), or can be computed by various crystallographic tools, including KAREP (Hovestreydt et al., 1992), SARAh (Wills, 2002), BASIREPS (RodriguezCarvajal, 2001), the Bilbao Crystallographic Server (symmetryadapted modes) (Aroyo et al., 2011; Aroyo, PerezMato et al., 2006; Aroyo, Kirov et al., 2006; Kroumova et al., 2003) and the ISOTROPY software suite (Stokes et al., 2013). The inputs for these tools are the crystallographic and the atom positions of the small (crystallographic average) as one would derive from Rietveld (or other suitable crystallographic) analysis.
These tightbinding modes provide an orthonormal and local basis for describing all possible motional within a single and are analogous to the normal vibrational modes of a molecular system. To retain this physical intuition but capture the of a `largebox' atomistic ensemble, we adopt a technique analogous to tightbinding methods in electronic structure calculations (Slater & Koster, 1954) and write down modes at a nonzero wavevector in terms of these local basis functions that we define at the center (as for atomic orbitals), with appropriate phase factors to describe correlations between crystallographic unit cells in an ensemble. Specifically, we define the spatial correlations between unit cells within the ensemble with a quantized reciprocal wavevector, k = 2π/R. The vector spans the indices = (, , ) for all n_{x} = 0, 1,…, (M_{x} − 1), n_{y} = 0, 1,…, (M_{y} − 1) and n_{z} = 0, 1,…, (M_{z} − 1); in other words, the wavevectors are in steps of 2π/M along each direction. For mathematical convenience, we define all values of k as positive. The amplitude of a tightbinding mode, , with the associated phase factor described by the reciprocalspace wavevector k, is defined by
where i runs over all atoms in the crystallographic and n runs over all unit cells contained within the ensemble. The vector R points to the nth crystallographic in the ensemble. The values are the vectorial contribution of atom i to the mode described by the (j, λ) pair. The vectorial contributions can span multiple atoms, as pertaining to the crystallographic multiplicity of the particular site in the original crystallographic The index j specifies each set of modes that together transform as an irreducible representation of the λ is equal to the dimensionality of the corresponding irreducible representation and runs over all modes in the set. Together, there are 3N distinct (j, λ) pairs, or tightbinding modes, where N is the number of atoms in the small crystallographic cell.
There is no index k on ψ, just like there is no wavevector dependence on atomic orbitals in the classic tightbinding electronic structure approach, because all wavevector dependences are explicitly included in the phase factors. Further, note that to retain all we allow the amplitudes of each tightbinding mode to be independent of all others, even if symmetry would constrain them (i.e. because one irreducible representation may be spanned by multiple modes). This allows us to consider, but not enforce, symmetry in describing the `largebox' atomistic ensembles. Stated differently, the projection is only a change of basis; all 3N − 6 (for an ensemble of N atoms) are retained (omitting the three translational and three rotational degrees of freedom) and the exact atomistic ensemble can be reconstructed by the inverse of
This method, as applied to the toy model, is shown in Fig. 2(b). We note that this is distinct from typical crystallographic analysis (Kerman et al., 2012; Dimitrov et al., 1999; Goodwin et al., 2004, 2005; Stokes et al., 2013; Campbell et al., 2006), in which the constraints of the parent are preserved and the primary interoperable variables are the amplitudes, thus providing one number for a pair of basis vectors that describe a displacement transforming as a twodimensional irreducible representation, versus two numbers in our approach. We retain all possible degrees of freedom.
2.3. Continuous symmetry measures
When using our tightbinding modes, we can determine the activity of the mode and the deviation of the ensemble from the et al., 1992; Alvarez et al., 2005)] that we characterize here. First, the global activity of a single tightbinding mode (j, consisting of one or more individual λ modes depending on the dimensionality of the corresponding irreducible representation) can be quantified as the MSD between the amplitudes and the new amplitude coefficients, , following application of a G of the crystallographic space group:
not just from the mode amplitude but also from its meansquared deviation (MSD) from an ensemble operated on by a of the parent crystallographic There are at least two distinct types of continuous symmetry measures [as developed by Avnir and coworkers (ZabrodskyFor purely symmetryconserving displacements, the MSD should be zero. Here, it is critical to combine the squared amplitudes of all individual modes that together transform as a single multidimensional irreducible representation (the innermost sums) because the amplitudes of individual modes can be varied simply by changing the choice of basis vectors within that mode set. The sum over all wavevectors is justified to identify s_{G,j} more physically interpretable.
changes because it corresponds to summing the contributions derived from a single local tightbinding mode (as for atomic orbital) and is exact in the molecular limit. The final square root is provided for convenience to make the magnitude ofThe related MSD, not broken down by individual mode sets, is similarly simple to calculate:
where again the final square root is provided for convenience.
The second type of deviation from the parent C_{4} symmetry and an atom in the center displaced along the diagonal direction (Fig. 3). Projected onto the two basis vectors Γ_{1} and Γ_{2}, which together span the twodimensional irreducible representation E in the corresponding the amplitudes along each basis are initially equal. As the Euler angle that defines the absolute orientation of the basis vectors is varied, the intensity of Γ_{2} reduces while Γ_{1} increases until Γ_{1} is collinear with the atom displacement; this oscillatory pattern continues the rest of the way. Note that the sum of the square amplitudes from the two contributions (Γ_{1} and Γ_{2}) is a constant (this is required, as the magnitude of the displacement is not changing). However, across multiple subcells or across multiple simulation runs, one can differentiate between random and ordered displacements. Let ϕ_{0} be the initial angle of the displacement of the central atom. Different values of ϕ_{0} correspond to phase shifts of the values of (and ). If the ϕ_{0} values are completely random, then their average is a flat line as a function of Euler angle, with variances that are also flat (Fig. 3b). On the other hand, if the ϕ_{0} values are pinned to specific directions, then only a subset of the phase shifts is present. This will often result in an average that is still flat as a function of Euler angle, e.g. if they are pinned every 90°, but the variances will no longer be uniform (Fig. 3c). This can be exploited to determine whether the displacements are approximately random or fixed in some subset of orientations relative to the parent unitcell coordinate system.
that can be identified is distortions that do not retain an equivalence of mode amplitudes within a single mode set that transforms as a multidimensional irreducible representation. To illustrate this, consider a single box with3. Case studies
3.1. Trigonal displacements in tetragonal BaTiO_{3}
The ferroelectric ceramic BaTiO_{3} at T = 298 K provides an excellent example of local distortion that averages out to a higher in the The average determined from Rietveld analysis is tetragonal, P4mm, which was used to define the tightbinding modes. However, the local bonding environment is significantly distorted and better described by the symmetry of the lowtemperature R3m configuration (Kwei et al., 1995; Ravel et al., 1998; Page et al., 2010), as illustrated in Figs. 4(a) and 4(b). While the R3m model provides a quantitative fit to the PDF within one it does not provide quantitative information on the mediumrange order, such as information on the correlations between unit cells or the coherence length scale, even though such information can (and should) exist within the PDF.
The experimental data used for this analysis were collected using the NPDF instrument (Lujan Neutron Scattering Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA) and were reanalyzed with adjusted relative absorption corrections [such that a scale factor was not needed to fit the intensity G(r)]; the experimental details and original report of the experimental data are given by Page et al. (2010). The Bragg profile and PDF were used to constrain RMC simulations using the RMCprofile code (Tucker et al., 2007), as illustrated in Figs. 1(a) and 1(b). The simulation ensemble is a 12 × 12 × 12 enlarged bigbox ensemble of the tetragonal P4mm (8640 atoms) that was determined from Rietveld analysis. The ensembles were constrained by G(r) (in the range 1 < r < 24 Å) in addition to the Bragg profile from the 90° detector bank of the NPDF (1.7 < Q < 15.7 Å^{−1}, 3.7 > d > 0.4 Å). In addition to hardsphere cutoffs, a small penalty was applied to the simulations for breaking [TiO_{6}] coordination in order to accelerate the simulations. Two hundred different simulations were performed from the same starting configuration in order to build statistics in the analysis. Each simulation ensemble can be backfolded into the the atom positions fall within a cloudlike distribution centered around the average crystallographic site (Fig. 4c).
Using the analysis method presented here, the atom positions were then decomposed into the tightbinding basis of the P4mm with a kmesh divided into 12 discrete steps along each x, y and z direction with M_{x} = M_{y} = M_{z} = 12. The irreducible representations and corresponding basis vectors for the tightbinding (locally symmetryadapted) modes were identified using the Bilbao Crystallographic Server (symmetryadapted modes) (Kroumova et al., 2003) and are listed in Table 1; some basis functions are represented graphically in Fig. 5.

For the analysis of a single ensemble of BaTiO_{3}, the tightbinding mode amplitudes that describe displacements along the ferroelectric polarization are not very large (Ti A_{1}, O1 A_{1}, O2 A_{1}, O2 B_{1}, Table 2). This makes sense, since the average positions of the Ti and O2 atoms are offcenter along the elongated caxis direction (Table 1) (Megaw, 1945, 1973). However, the displacements in the ab plane are significantly enlarged. This is represented graphically by the `pointcloud' distributions of the atom positions in Fig. 4(c) that are overlain on top of the R3m used to describe the PDF by Page et al. (2010).

One problem with RMC simulations is that, if the data are insufficiently resolved such that some atoms are poorly constrained, then the simulation atoms can wander away from their ideal positions. This would give the same graphical appearance as in Fig. 4(c). However, the quantitative data presented in Table 2 show that these displacements are significant on average within an ensemble and that their variance is tightly defined, even across 200 simulations.
As a control, we performed RMC simulations constrained by simulated PDFs. In one case (P4mm control), we computed G(r) from the P4mm obtained by Rietveld analysis (convoluted with the appropriate instrumental resolution parameters, Q_{damp} and Q_{broad}); the Bragg profile was the experimental Bragg profile. The simulated G(r) and Bragg profile were used to constrain 200 RMC simulations for analysis. For another control (R3m control), we took the reported R3m model determined from smallbox modeling for the PDF [as reported by Page et al. (2010)] and simulated G(r) from that structural model; the Bragg profile was the experimental Bragg profile. These then constrained 90 independent RMC simulations for analysis. The P4mm control is a negative control that does not have additional displacements within the ab plane (beyond thermal disorder modeled by a Debye–Waller factor); the R3m control is a positive control for a known displacement in the ab plane coincident with thermal disorder. The tightbinding mode coefficients resulting from analysis of the P4mm control simulations do not have a substantial anisotropy (Table 2); while there is a statistically significant increase in the coefficients of displacements in the ab plane, this may be biased from using the experimental Bragg peaks in conjunction with the simulated G(r). For the R3m control, there is a significant and expected increase in displacements within the ab plane. This analysis informs us that the tightbinding mode amplitudes are capable of identifying aperiodic displacements when expected; however, the values of the coefficients alone do not inform us as to whether particular symmetry operations are broken.
With a local trigonal distortion, the R3mbased model implies that there are specific vectors along which the Ti displacements are oriented; these are the vectors that point directly at the faces of the [TiO_{6}] octahedra (i.e. the 〈111〉 directions, as referenced to the P4mm or unit cells of BaTiO_{3}). However, looking at the graphical representation in Fig. 4(c), it is impossible to tell if particular directions are preferred. Because the tightbinding modes within a set are mutually orthogonal and therefore yield locally orthogonal displacements, it is trivial to rotate the reference frame of the basis vectors and recompute their coefficient as a function of the Euler angle along the rotation axis of the multidimensional irreducible representation. In the P4mm description, this angle (ϕ) rotates around the fourfold axis of the unit cell.
In our analysis, we decomposed the atomic displacements into amplitudes of specific tightbinding modes as a function of rotation about the Euler angle, ϕ (Fig. 6). To illustrate this analysis, we employ two control simulations. Shown in Fig. 6(a) is a simulation of the displacements of Ti atoms around an approximately random distribution of ϕ angles. In Fig. 6(b), we show a simulation with Ti atoms displaced at the same magnitude as in Fig. 6(a), but the angles are constrained to be a random integer multiple of π/2 rad. Therefore, the Ti atoms are clustered into four groups (akin to the 〈111〉 displacements). In both cases, the average coefficient of the tightbinding modes that together form a set and span a multidimensional irreducible representation will not change as a function of ϕ, since the Ti atoms are displaced from the center by the same distance. However, the variance between tightbinding mode amplitudes [E(1) versus E(2)] will be distinct for each Euler angle (cf. Fig. 3). For the completely random distribution in Fig. 6(a), the coefficient multiplying Γ_{1} of the irreducible representation E will vary continuously between 0 and the maximum value, as the basis vector is orthogonal and collinear with the atomic displacement; the second basis vector (Γ_{2}) will also vary by the same amount, but its amplitude will be π/2 out of phase with Γ_{1}. Therefore, each basis vector will have the same variance with ϕ, denoted by the error bars in Fig. 6.
As in Fig. 6(b), if the atom displacements are clustered into groups, then the variation of basis vector coefficients will not be constant with ϕ. When ϕ = 0 rad, such that Γ_{1} is oriented along the a axis, then its mixing coefficient will be 2^{1/2} times the average value; the coefficient of Γ_{2} will be identical. Therefore, the difference in coefficients is zero. However, when ϕ orients one of the basis vectors directly towards the clustered displacements, one coefficient is maximal and the other is zero; this produces a large variation in the basis vector amplitudes. In the experimental simulations, there does not appear to be explicit clustering of the Ti atoms along particular displacement vectors (Fig. 6c). Looking at the variation in coefficients for all atoms in the depicted by the error bars in Fig. 7, there does not appear to be any clustering of displacements as a function of Euler angle. While the twodimensional irreducible representations E for atom O2 appear to exhibit a trend with ϕ, the change in the average value of the coefficient reflects the definition of the basis vectors; the variations of the coefficients, as indicated by the error bars, do not change with ϕ. This result is consistent for RMC simulations run for different times (as disorder tends to be artificially maximized for longer simulation runs).
While a variation in coefficients with Euler angle can indicate clustering of displacements described by a multidimensional irreducible representation, it does not provide any indication of whether the degeneracyinducing Method section. For BaTiO_{3}, we compute the MSD for each generated of the crystallographic (P4mm). With four symmetry operations (E, σ_{v}, C_{2} and C_{4}), there are a total of eight symmetryrelated atoms that are generated from a general position; therefore, we test all unique combinations of these operations (each combination that generates one of the general positions).
is broken. To find broken degeneracies, we turn to continuous symmetry measures as defined in theThe MSDs illustrate that the atomic displacements in the ensembles show the highest deviation away from the fourfold rotation _{3} (summed over all k and irreducible representations) are illustrated in Fig. 8 for each The histograms for related symmetry elements are clustered together; those combinations that equate to a fourfold rotation have the most significant MSD (Figs. 8g and 8h), followed by mirror planes parallel to the {110} planes, then mirror planes parallel to the {100} planes.
Histograms of all MSDs computed for BaTiOTo probe which irreducible representations are most symmetry conserving, histograms of MSDs summed over all k for each irreducible representation are shown in Fig. 9; the histograms bin together the MSDs computed for the equivalent symmetry operations shown on the right. The histograms for the Ti A_{1} irreducible representation (Figs. 9a, 9c and 9e) show tightly grouped and lowvalue MSDs, indicating that the vertical Ti displacements tend to preserve the P4mm symmetry operations. However, the displacements that project onto the Ti irreducible representation E tend to break the symmetry operations, as inferred previously. The fourfold rotation axis appears to be the most frequently broken, as expected naively from the smallbox trigonal model illustrated in Fig. 4(b), which does have a vertical mirror plane parallel to the (110) plane.
The analyses presented here for BaTiO_{3} provide results that are sufficiently simple for easy comparison with smallbox models of BaTiO_{3}. The use of RMC simulations allows one to extract a single statistically relevant model of the atom positions that describes both the data regarding local atom separations (the PDF) and the average (Bragg profile). For BaTiO_{3}, the coefficients of the tightbinding modes and their spatial dependence reveal the presence of a significant distortion from the P4mm The resulting ensemble reveals that the atom positions are mostly displaced in the ab plane, which closely resembles the lowtemperature R3m This example illustrates how such an analysis may be performed on materials with more complexity, in terms of both their and their crystalline disorder, as described in the next section.
3.2. Correlated O and Bi displacements in Bi_{2}Ti_{2}O_{7}
The analysis methods presented here are generally applicable to materials with more complex structures. The `chargeice' pyrochlore oxide Bi_{2}Ti_{2}O_{7} has a large that contains 88 atoms; direct inspection of ensembles becomes prohibitive with this many in a single crystallographic (Hector & Wiggin, 2004). In Bi_{2}Ti_{2}O_{7} there is extensive disorder of the Bi attributed to stereochemical activity of the lone pair – derived from the [Xe]5d^{10}6s^{2} of Bi^{III} – on a geometrically frustrated lattice. The geometry of the diamond lattice prevents longrange ordering of the dipoles, in a manner related to Pauling's ice rules (Seshadri, 2006). Previously, RMC simulations of total neutron scattering have been used to gain an atomistic representation of the static Bi displacements, which form a toroidal distribution of Bi atoms that encircle the ideal crystallographic site. Furthermore, the O′ atoms (Wyckoff site 8a) are connected to the nonspherically distributed Bi atoms and therefore become displaced from their ideal crystallographic sites into tetrahedral volumes. The original report, experimental data and experimental details are given by Shoemaker et al. (2010). The crystallographic Bi_{2}Ti_{2}O_{7} is described by the which defines the irreducible representations and tightbinding modes used here.
By rewriting the atomic displacements in terms of the tightbinding modes, a straightforward examination of their amplitudes reveals several characteristics that lead to many of the same conclusions as presented by Shoemaker et al. (2010); these coefficients are tabulated in Table 3 (the coefficients are averaged across modes related by face centering, over all k and across 320 distinct ensembles). Of the Bi modes (depicted in Fig. 10), those spanning the E_{u} and T_{2u} irreducible representations generate displacements that reproduce the toroidal distribution of Bi positions observed by Shoemaker et al. (2010) and have the most significant amplitude. The mode spanning the A_{2u} representation is orthogonal to the C_{∞} rotational axis of the torus and has a small amplitude. The modes spanning the T_{1u} (1) and T_{1u} (2) representations have intermediate orientations and amplitudes. The decomposition of atomic displacements into tightbinding modes reproduces the physically meaningful and intuitive results presented by Shoemaker et al. (2010); here, the averaging across many wavevectors and simulations identifies the robustness of these displacements.

Furthermore, identification of these highamplitude modes allows one to create a `smallbox' model for a symmetryconstrained et al. (2010) and Fennie et al. (2007), imaginary phonon modes were discovered at the Brillioun zone center; the symmetries of the polarization eigenvectors belong to the T_{1u} and E_{u} irreducible representations (Fig. 11). The tightbinding modes spanning these irreducible representations have highamplitude coefficients in the analysis performed here. Distortion of the lattice along these polarization modes yields a small of Cm symmetry that provides an excellent description of G(r) for r < 3.5 Å (Shoemaker et al., 2010). The agreement of the highamplitude tightbinding modes with the theorypredicted distortion modes and smallbox illustrates another utility of this approach for unknown systems.
In work by ShoemakerAdditionally, the representational analysis performed here suggests that there are correlated Bi displacements, as well as correlated O—Bi—O displacements that are not immediately observed from direct inspection of the atomic displacements. While a correlation between the Bi and O′ displacements was made previously (Shoemaker et al., 2010), the tightbinding mode amplitudes show that there are large displacements of Bi and O. The highest modes corresponding to the 48f O atom relate to the O A_{1g} irreducible representation, which can be described as a subtle elongation and twisting of the [TiO_{6}] octahedron (Fig. 12a). This large displacement is also mirrored in the anisotropic atomic displacement parameter of the 48f Oatom position obtained from Rietveld analysis. A possible origin of the high amplitude of this distortion is illustrated in Fig. 12(b): the 48f Oatom positions form a hexagon encircling the linear O′—Bi—O′ linkages in an orthogonal orientation. With significant Bi displacements, as indicated by the large amplitude of the Bi T_{2u} spanning modes, the O atoms are displaced from their ideal positions around the hexagon in order to accommodate the shifted Bi atoms.
By comparing different simulation runs, it is possible to gauge the uncertainty in how distorted or ideal the connectivity is in different parts of the lattice. For example, the mode amplitudes corresponding to the Ti–O . The histograms show that the displacement amplitudes have a narrow distribution across all length scales and between many simulation runs. Furthermore, the displacements appear to be reasonably isotropic, as consistent with thermal disorder of a cubic lattice.
are shown in Fig. 13In contrast, the distribution of Biatom displacements is varied (Fig. 14). The Bi A_{2u} mode distribution is comparable to the Ti–O However, many of the Bi displacement modes corresponding to multidimensional irreducible representations have high amplitudes and broad distributions, indicative of substantial static disorder in directions orthogonal to the linear O′—Bi—O′ bond axis. This strongly suggests that those displacement modes locally break the symmetry of the crystal structure.
In this analysis, the multidimensional irreducible representations are broken into their individual components (so as to retain the total number of degrees of freedom); however, the values of each tightbinding mode are identical in the case of Bi_{2}Ti_{2}O_{7}. Then, to identify if and by how much the atomic displacements break the symmetry elements linking together tightbinding modes spanning a multidimensional irreducible representation, the continuous symmetry measure of each irreducible representation can be calculated. Fig. 15 contains histograms of the MSDs for each irreducible representation after operation on the simulation box by a specific (equation 4). The modes spanning the A_{2u} representation do not show any dependence on the while the modes corresponding to the E_{u} and T_{2u} representations do show a dependence on the operations. Specifically, the facecentering [+(, 0, ), +(0, , )] and inversion (i) symmetry operations show the highest MSDs as well as the broadest distributions, suggesting that those symmetries deviate by the largest magnitude and in the most ways. In future work, it will be informative to analyze the compatibility relationships as the degeneracy of different modes changes as k ≠ (0, 0, 0).
The _{2}Ti_{2}O_{7} presents a very complex problem as the contains 88 atoms, resulting in 264 or 264 distinct tightbinding modes to describe all atom displacements. When trying to analyze a large ensemble simulation of this structure, analysis in Cartesian coordinates becomes unwieldy. Decomposition of the structure into the crystallographically relevant local basis allows one to determine the highest amplitude disorder in the lattice, the distribution of amplitudes, the direction of the atomic displacements causing the disorder, and how the disorder breaks specific symmetry elements of the crystallographic and by how much.
of Bi4. Conclusions
The representational analysis of large atomistic ensembles generated from simulations (such as from reverse Monte Carlo simulations of total scattering data) using a tightbinding basis derived from locally symmetryadapted modes is a robust method that allows one to quantify disorder in the lattice. In many RMC simulations, the goal is often to characterize subtle deviations from the lattice. These types of displacement are subtle perturbations from a lattice that possesses a modicum of moderately isotropic thermal disorder. Therefore, isolation and quantification of the disorder (i.e. of infrequent events) requires statistical analysis. By representing the disorder with respect to a local basis of the background signal (i.e. symmetryadapted modes of the crystallographic space group), displacements appear as a positive signal, are amplified and can be analyzed statistically. Additionally, the approach presented here permits a framework for analyzing other types of such as occupational/compositional disorder (e.g. solid solutions) or magnetism. Such a rigorous grouptheoretical treatment is currently implemented in ISODISPLACE (Campbell et al., 2006).
Footnotes
^{1}We define the modes as being locally symmetryadapted, since the symmetry relationship that we use is only strictly defined for k = (0, 0, 0). In a single these modes are fully symmetry adapted.
Acknowledgements
The source code used in this analysis is freely available at https://occamy.chemistry.jhu.edu/references/pubsoft/index.php. The authors thank D. P. Shoemaker, K. Page and R. Seshadri for sharing their neutron scattering data for this analysis and for helpful discussions. This research was principally supported by the US DOE, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, under award No. DEFG0208ER46544. TMM acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. This work benefited from the use of the NPDF at the Lujan Center at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, funded by DOE BES. Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by Los Alamos National Security LLC under DOE contract No. DEAC5206NA25396. The upgrade of the NPDF was funded by the National Science Foundation through grant No. DMR 00–76488. This research utilized the CSU ISTeC Cray HPC System supported by NSF grant No. CNS0923386.
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