Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Bernard R. Cooper.


We have applied two ab initio based methods to investigate the origin in the electronic structure of the unusual magnetic behavior of the cerium and uranium monopnictides and monochalcogenides. First, we have carried out spin-polarized electronic structure calculations, based on the full potential linear muffin tin (FPLMTO) method, with spin polarization (orbital polarization only via spin-orbit coupling) and also with orbital polarization correction. Second, we have carried out ab initio based calculations synthesizing (1) a phenomenological theory of orbitally driven magnetism based on the Anderson and Kondo, lattice model which incorporates explicitly the hybridization induced and the Coulomb exchange interactions on an equal footing, and (2) FPLMTO electronic structure calculations allowing a first principles evaluation of all the parameters entering the model Hamiltonian. For the cerium compounds, we also include the crystal field interactions on an equal footing with the hybridization and Coulomb exchange interactions with a scaling determined by experiment. The results for the uranium compound calculations show that both methods are limited to the extremes to which they are best suited. The pure band structure calculations provide the best agreement for the lighter uranium compounds, while the model hamiltonian approach provides better agreement for the heavier uranium compounds. In the case of the cerium compounds, while the pure FPLMTO calculations yield values for the magnetic moment in agreement with experiment for the lighter cerium chalcogenides, they fail to give, even qualitatively, the magnetic properties for all other systems. On the other hand, the ab initio based model Hamiltonian calculations reveal for the first time the interplay of hybridization, Coulomb exchange, and crystal field interactions across the cerium series, and give results for the low-temperature moment and ordering temperature in excellent agreement with experiment, for the full range of both types of cerium compounds.