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Many-body ab initio
diffusion quantum Monte Carlo applied to the strongly correlated oxide NiO
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We present a many-body diffusion quantum Monte Carlo (DMC) study of the bulk and defect properties of NiO. We find excellent agreement with experimental values, within 0.3%, 0.6%, and 3.5% for the lattice constant, cohesive energy, and bulk modulus, respectively. The quasiparticle
bandgap was also computed, and the DMC result of 4.72 (0.17) eV compares well with the experimental value of 4.3 eV. Furthermore, DMC calculations of excited states at the L, Z, and the gamma point of the Brillouin zone reveal a flat upper valence band for NiO, in good agreement with Angle Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy results. To study defect properties, we evaluated the formation energies of the neutral and charged vacancies of oxygen and nickel in NiO. A formation energy of 7.2 (0.15) eV was found for the oxygen vacancy under oxygen rich conditions. For the Ni
vacancy, we obtained a formation energy of 3.2 (0.15) eV under Ni rich conditions. These results confirm that NiO occurs as a p-type material with the dominant intrinsic vacancy defect being Ni
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