Classical atomistic simulations of surfaces and heterogeneous interfaces with the charge-optimized many body (COMB) potentials

T Liang and TR Shan and YT Cheng and BD Devine and M Noordhoek and YZ Li and ZZ Lu and SR Phillpot and SB Sinnott, MATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING R-REPORTS, 74, 255-279 (2013).

DOI: 10.1016/j.mser.2013.07.001

Interest in atomic scale computational simulations of multi-phase systems has grown as our ability to simulate nanometer-sized systems has become commonplace. The recently developed charge optimized many body potential (COMB) potentials have significantly enhanced the atomic-scale simulation of heterogeneous material systems, including chemical reactions at surfaces and the physical properties of interfaces. The COMB formalism, which merges variable charge electrostatic interactions with a classical analytical potential, has the capacity to adaptively model metallic, covalent, ionic and van der Waals bonding in the same simulation cell and dynamically determine the charges according to the local environment. Presented here is the theoretical background and evolution of the COMB potential family. The parameterization of the potential is described for several metals, ceramics, a semiconductor, and hydrocarbons, with the intent that the final parameter sets are consistent among materials. The utility of this approach is illustrated with several examples that explore the structure, stability, and mechanical and thermal properties of metallic systems and metal-ceramic and semi-conductor oxide interfaces, including surfaces and/or interfaces of copper and cuprite, copper and silica, silicon and silica, silicon and hafnia, and copper and zinc oxide. The potential is also applied to the simulation of atomic scale processes such as early stage oxidation of copper surfaces, tensile test of polycrystalline zirconium, and hyper-thermal deposition of ethyl radicals on selected copper surfaces. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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