On the time scale associated with Monte Carlo simulations

KM Bal and EC Neyts, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 141, 204104 (2014).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4902136

Uniform-acceptance force-bias Monte Carlo (fbMC) methods have been shown to be a powerful technique to access longer timescales in atomistic simulations allowing, for example, phase transitions and growth. Recently, a new fbMC method, the time-stamped force-bias Monte Carlo (tfMC) method, was derived with inclusion of an estimated effective timescale; this timescale, however, does not seem able to explain some of the successes the method. In this contribution, we therefore explicitly quantify the effective timescale tfMC is able to access for a variety of systems, namely a simple single-particle, one-dimensional model system, the Lennard-Jones liquid, an adatom on the Cu(100) surface, a silicon crystal with point defects and a highly defected graphene sheet, in order to gain new insights into the mechanisms by which tfMC operates. It is found that considerable boosts, up to three orders of magnitude compared to molecular dynamics, can be achieved for solid state systems by lowering of the apparent activation barrier of occurring processes, while not requiring any system-specific input or modifications of the method. We furthermore address the pitfalls of using the method as a replacement or complement of molecular dynamics simulations, its ability to explicitly describe correct dynamics and reaction mechanisms, and the association of timescales to MC simulations in general. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

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