Application of the interface potential approach for studying wetting behavior within a molecular dynamics framework

K Jain and AJ Schultz and JR Errington, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 150, 204118 (2019).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5096362

We introduce a means to implement the interface potential approach for computing wetting properties within a molecular dynamics framework. The general approach provides a means to determine the contact angle of a liquid droplet on a solid substrate in a mother vapor. We present a framework for implementing "spreading" and "drying" versions of the method within an isothermal-isobaric ensemble. Two free energy methods are considered: cumulative integration of average force profile and multistate Bennett acceptance ratio. An umbrella sampling strategy is used to restrain volume fluctuations and to ensure adequate sampling of a broad volume range. We explore implementation of the approach with the GROningen MAchine for Chemical Simulations and the Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator. We test the accuracy and efficiency of the method with models consisting of a monoatomic Lennard- Jones fluid in the vicinity of a structureless or atomistically detailed substrate. Our results show that one can successfully generate the drying potential within the framework pursued here. The efficiency of the method is strongly dependent upon how one handles the dynamics of the two confining walls. These decisions impact the rate of volume fluctuations, and therefore, the quality of the volume distributions collected. Our efforts to implement the spreading method with molecular dynamics alone proved unsuccessful. The rate at which the configuration space of the vapor phase evolves is insufficient. We show how one can overcome this challenge by implementing a coupled molecular dynamics/Monte Carlo approach. Finally, we show how one can determine the variation in interfacial properties with temperature and substrate strength. Published under license by AIP Publishing.

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