Shell user manual is here.

SHELL is a NEW, GENERAL free energy minimization program for solids. It uses lattice statics and quasiharmonic lattice dynamics to calculate analytically the free energy of a crystal, AND its derivatives with respect to the dimensions of the unit cell (the external coordinates) AND the positions of the ions within the unt cell (the internal coordinates).

This is the first program to be able to perform efficient fully dynamic structure optimisation of unit cells of ionic and polar solids containing hundreds of ions.

Why lattice dynamics? Although neglected in recent years, lattice dynamics can be remarkably robust at elevated temperatures, while below the Debye temperature it scores importantly over classical Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics in that it takes account of zero-point energy and other quantum effects. It's cheap and precise, the results are easily interpreted and supply complementary information to that from MD. It also provides a very sensitive test for interatomic potentials.

Recently we have concentrated on the use of the program to model disordered solids and solid solutions by performing thermodynamic averages over the results of many individual free energy minimisations of particular configurations.

User functionality

The central capabilities of the program are calculation of the free energy and its strain derivatives. These can be used to determine: The optimisations can be carried out either with respect to the lattice parameters (a,b,c,alpha,beta,gamma according to the Bravais lattice type) and EITHER the full set of internal basis coordinates OR a set of internal-coordinates to take advantage of symmetry. For example, for rutile, by symmetry, we require only two lattice parameters a and c to describe the shape of the tetragonal unit cell and one coordinate to parametrise the basis atom positions.

To make the program easy to use, some external utilities are supplied for manipulation of Shell's input and output files. These include:

An HTML users guide is available (or in postscript for printing out).
There is also an example input file and corresponding output file.

Program availability

Email Prof. Allan or Dr. Barrera .

A related program for metals EAMLD is available from Dr. Barrera.

Selected References

For a full list of papers from the Allan group see the group web page . Also note that some of the downloadable files are restricted access because of copyright restrictions.

Full details of the theory explained simply:
Free energy derivatives and structure optimisation within quasiharmonic lattice dynamics, M.B. Taylor, G.D. Barrera, N.L. Allan and T.H.K. Barron, Phys. Rev. B 56, 14380-14390 (1997)
(download postscript or PDF file).

The program:
SHELL : A code for lattice dynamics and structure optimisation of ionic crystals, M.B. Taylor, G.D. Barrera, N.L. Allan, T.H.K. Barron and W.C. Mackrodt, Comput. Phys. Commun. 109, 135-143 (1998)
(download postscript or PDF file).

Some more theory:
The zero static internal stress approximation in lattice dynamics and the calculation of isotope effects on molar volumes, N.L. Allan, T.H.K. Barron and J.A.O. Bruno, J. Chem. Phys., 105, 8300-8303 (1996).
(download postscript or PDF).

Application to defects:
The free energy of formation of defects in polar solids, M.B. Taylor, G.D. Barrera, N.L. Allan, T.H.K. Barron and W.C. Mackrodt, Faraday Discuss., 106, 377-387 (1997)
(download postscript or PDF).

Application to mixtures and disordered systems:
Free energy of solid solutions and phase diagrams via quasiharmonic lattice dynamics, N.L. Allan, G.D. Barrera, R.M. Fracchia, M. Yu. Lavrentiev, M.B. Taylor, I.T. Todorov and J.A. Purton, Phys. Rev. B 63, 094203 (2001) (download PDF)

For related Monte Carlo work, see
Ab initio calculation of phase diagrams of oxides, M. Yu. Lavrentiev, N.L. Allan, G.D. Barrera, and J.A. Purton, J. Phys. Chem. B 105, 3594-3599 (2001) (download PDF)

Ionic solids at high temperatures and pressure: ab initio, lattice dynamics and Monte Carlo studies, N.L. Allan, G.D. Barrera, J.A. Purton, C.E. Sims and M.B. Taylor, Phys. Chem., Chem. Phys. 2, 1099-1111 (2000) (feature article) (download PDF). Last update by NLA March 2004