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Electronic correlations and transport in iron at Earth’s core conditions

Abstract : The transport properties of iron under Earth's inner core conditions are essential input for the geophysical modelling but are poorly constrained experimentally. Here we show that the thermal and electrical conductivity of iron at those conditions remains high even if the electron-electron-scattering (EES) is properly taken into account. This result is obtained by ab initio simulations taking into account consistently both thermal disorder and electronic correlations. Thermal disorder suppresses the non-Fermi-liquid behavior of the bodycentered cubic iron phase, hence, reducing the EES; the total calculated thermal conductivity of this phase is 220 Wm −1 K −1 with the EES reduction not exceeding 20%. The EES and electron-lattice scattering are intertwined resulting in breaking of the Matthiessen's rule with increasing EES. In the hexagonal close-packed iron the EES is also not increased by thermal disorder and remains weak. Our main finding thus holds for the both likely iron phases in the inner core.
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Contributor : Leonid Pourovskii <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 2, 2021 - 4:17:51 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 3:32:52 AM

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L. Pourovskii, J. Mravlje, M. Pozzo, D. Alfè. Electronic correlations and transport in iron at Earth’s core conditions. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 11, ⟨10.1038/s41467-020-18003-9⟩. ⟨hal-03189010⟩

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