A Simple AIMD Approach to Derive Atomic Charges for Condensed Phase Simulation of Ionic Liquids

Y Zhang and EJ Maginn, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 116, 10036-10048 (2012).

DOI: 10.1021/jp3037999

The atomic charges for two ionic liquids (ILs), 1-n-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate (BMIM PF6) and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate (EMIMPF6), were derived from periodic crystal phase calculations with density functional theory (DFT) and plane wave basis sets (denoted as "AIMD-c charge"). For both ILs, the total charge was found to be +/- 0.8 e for the cation and anion, respectively, due to the charge transfer between ions and polarization caused by the environment. These atomic charges were used in a force field developed within the general Amber force field framework. Using this force field, static, dynamic, and thermodynamic properties were computed for the two ILs using molecular dynamics simulation. The results were compared against results obtained using the same Amber force field but four different sets of partial charges, denoted as full charge, scaled charge, AIMD-1 charge, and AIMD-b charge, respectively. The full charge was derived from quantum chemistry calculation of isolated ions in a vacuum and resulted in a total charge of unity on each ion. The scaled charge was obtained by uniformly scaling the full charge by 0.8. AIMD-1 and AIMD-b charges were derived from liquid phase ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. The scaled charges have the same total charge on the ions as the AIMD-c charge but different distributions. It was found that simulation results not only depend on the total charge of each ion, but they are also sensitive to the charge distribution within an ion, especially for dynamic and thermodynamic properties. Overall, for the two ILs under study, the AIMD-c charge was found to predict experimental results better than the other four sets of charges, indicating that fitting charges from crystal phase DFT calculations, instead of extensive sampling of the liquid phase configurations, is a simple and reliable way to derive atomic charges for condensed phase ionic liquid simulations.

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