Accurate molecular dynamics and nuclear quantum effects at low cost by multiple steps in real and imaginary time: Using density functional theory to accelerate wavefunction methods

The development and implementation of increasingly accurate methods for electronic structure calculations mean that, for many atomistic simulation problems, treating light nuclei as classical particles is now one of the most serious approximations. Even though recent developments have significantly reduced the overhead for modeling the quantum nature of the nuclei, the cost is still prohibitive when combined with advanced electronic structure methods. Here we present how multiple time step integrators can be combined with ring-polymer contraction techniques (effectively, multiple time stepping in imaginary time) to reduce virtually to zero the overhead of modelling nuclear quantum effects, while describing inter-atomic forces at high levels of electronic structure theory. This is demonstrated for a combination of MP2 and semi-local DFT applied to the Zundel cation. The approach can be seamlessly combined with other methods to reduce the computational cost of path integral calculations, such as high-order factorizations of the Boltzmann operator or generalized Langevin equation thermostats. (C) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.

Published in:
The Journal of Chemical Physics, 144, 5, 054111
Melville, American Institute of Physics

 Record created 2016-02-06, last modified 2018-03-17

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