Addressing Dynamics at Catalytic Heterogeneous Interfaces with DFT-MD: Anomalous Temperature Distributions from Commonly Used Thermostats

Ville Korpelin, Toni Kiljunen, Marko M. Melander, Miguel A. Caro, Henrik H. Kristoffersen, Nisha Mammen, Vesa Apaja, Karoliina Honkala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Density functional theory-based molecular dynamics (DFT-MD) has been widely used for studying the chemistry of heterogeneous interfacial systems under operational conditions. We report frequently overlooked errors in thermostated or constant-temperature DFT-MD simulations applied to study (electro)catalytic chemistry. Our results demonstrate that commonly used thermostats such as Nosé-Hoover, Berendsen, and simple velocity-rescaling methods fail to provide a reliable temperature description for systems considered. Instead, nonconstant temperatures and large temperature gradients within the different parts of the system are observed. The errors are not a "feature"of any particular code but are present in several ab initio molecular dynamics implementations. This uneven temperature distribution, due to inadequate thermostatting, is well-known in the classical MD community, where it is ascribed to the failure in kinetic energy equipartition among different degrees of freedom in heterogeneous systems (Harvey et al. J. Comput. Chem. 1998, 726-740) and termed the flying ice cube effect. We provide tantamount evidence that interfacial systems are susceptible to substantial flying ice cube effects and demonstrate that the traditional Nosé-Hoover and Berendsen thermostats should be applied with care when simulating, for example, catalytic properties or structures of solvated interfaces and supported clusters. We conclude that the flying ice cube effect in these systems can be conveniently avoided using Langevin dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2644-2652
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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