CONQUEST can perform molecular dynamics both when the density matrix is computed using diagonalisation and O(N), the latter allowing dynamical simulations of (but not limited to) tens of thousands of atoms. The equations of motion are integrated using the velocity Verlet method in the case of the microcanonical ensemble (NVE), and modifications thereof for the canonical (NVT) and isobaric-isothermal (NPT) ensembles, the details of which can be found in Molecular Dynamics: Theory. In addition to converging the parameters for the electronic structure calculations, the following points must also be considered.
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Self-consistency tolerance and XL-BOMD
The convergence of the electronic structure is important in MD, as
insufficient convergence can be responsible for “drift” in the
conserved quantity of the dynamics. Although the molecular dynamics
integrators used in CONQUEST are time reversible, the SCF procedure
is not. Therefore tight convergence (
minE.LTolerance for linear scaling) is
necessary. In the case of diagonalisation, SCF tolerance of
typically enough to negate the drift. However, extended-Lagrangian
Born-Oppenheimer MD (XL-BOMD) [MD1], currently only
implemented for O(N), essentially makes the SCF component of the MD
time-reversible by adding the electronic degrees of freedom to the
Lagrangian, relaxing the constraint on
although it is still somewhat dependent on the ensemble. In the NVE
and NVT ensembles, a L-tolerance of
1E-5 has been found to be
sufficient to give good energy conservations, decreasing to
in the NPT ensemble. The following flags are required for XL-BOMD:
DM.SolutionMethod ordern AtomMove.ExtendedLagrangian T
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Assuming the calculation ended gracefully, it can easily be restarted by setting,
This will do several things: it will read the atomic coordinates from
md.position and read the
md.checkpoint file, which contains the
velocities and extended system (Nose-Hoover chain and cell) variables. Depending
on the value of
DM.SolutionMethod, it will read the K-matrix files
diagon) or the L-matrix files (
ordern), and if XL-BOMD is being used,
the X-matrix files. Finally, it will append new data to the
md.frames files, but it will overwrite all other files, including
Conquest_out. Note that this flag is equivalent to setting the following:
General.LoadL T SC.MakeInitialChargeFromK T XL.LoadL T
In addition to the files mentioned above, CONQUEST will try to read the K-matrix
Kmatrix2.i00.* when using diagonalisation or the L-matrix from
Lmatrix2.i00.* when using O(N), and
Xmatrix2.i0*.* if the
extended-Lagrangian formalism is used. Note that metadata for these files is
InfoGlobal.i00.dat which is also required when restarting. If the
calculation ended by hitting the walltime limit, the writing of these matrix
files may have been interrupted, rendering them unusable. In this case, the
calculation can be restarted by setting the above flags to
F after setting
AtomMove.RestartRun T. Setting the flag
General.MaxTime to some number
of seconds less (say 30 minutes) than the calculation wall time limit will force
the calculation to stop gracefully, preventing the aforementioned situation.
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Visualising the trajectory
Setting the flag
AtomMove.WriteXSF T dumps the coordinates to the file
AtomMove.OutputFreq steps. The .xsf file can be
read using VMD. A small VMD script,
view.vmd is included with the code, and can be invoked using,
vmd -e view.vmd
assuming the vmd executable is in your path.
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CONQUEST molecular dynamics data can be used to perform lattice dyanmical
calculations using the Temperature Dependent Effective Potential (TDEP) code. Setting the flag
T will make conquest dump configurations, forces and metadata in a format
readable by TDEP.
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Canonical (NVT) ensemble
The thermostat is set using the
MD.Thermostat flag, and can take the values
svr (stochastic velocity rescaling) and
chain). These thermostats generate the correct canonical ensemble
phase space distribution, and both give a conserved quantity that
allows the quality of the dynamics to be monitored.
Stochastic velocity rescaling
AtomMove.IonTemperature 300.0 MD.Ensemble nvt MD.Thermostat svr MD.tauT 10
While the NHC uses chaotic sensitivity to initial conditions to achieve better
ergodicity, the SVR thermostat [MD2] uses a judiciously chosen stochastic force
coupled to a weak scaling thermostat to correctly generate the
canonical phase space distribution. The
MD.tauT parameter gives
the coupling timescale; the velocity scaling factor is modified by a
factor \(\Delta t/\tau\), so a larger \(\tau\) results in a
more slowly varying temperature. While some characterisation of the
system is recommended, values of \(\tau\) around 20–200fs are
reasonable. To reproduce a simulation, the random number
generator seed can be set with the
General.RNGSeed <integer> flag.
AtomMove.IonTemperature 300.0 MD.Ensemble nvt MD.Thermostat nhc MD.nNHC 5 MD.nYoshida 5 MD.tauT 30
When thermostatting using a Nose-Hoover chain [MD3, MD4, MD5], it may be necessary to set a
couple more flags.
MD.nNHC sets the number of thermostats in the chain (the
default of 5 is generally sensible), and
MD.nYoshida determines the order of
Yoshida-Suzuki integration. This is essentially a higher level integration
scheme that can improve energy conservation in cases when rapid changes in the
Nose-Hoover thermostat velocity is causing integration errors. Note that
MD.tauT means something different to the SVR case. A good guess is
the time period of the highest frequency motion of the system in fs; however, in
the NVT ensemble, the energy conservation is not very sensitive to this value.
The NHC masses can also be set manually using the following block.
MD.CalculateXLMass F MD.nNHC 5 %block MD.NHCmass 5 1 1 1 1 %endblock
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Isobaric-Isothermal (NPT) ensemble
There is one implemented barostat at present, the extended system, Parrinello-Rahman [MD6]. At present the barostat should be treated as a beta-version implementation, which will be fully characterised and made robust for the full release of the code.
AtomMove.IonTemperature 300.0 AtomMove.TargetPressure 10.0 MD.Ensemble npt MD.Thermostat nhc MD.Barostat pr MD.nNHC 5 MD.nYoshida 5 MD.tauT 100 MD.tauP 200 MD.PDrag 10.0
The Parrinello-Rahman barostat generates the correct ensemble, but can
be subject to low frequency “ringing” fluctuations in the
temperature and pressure that can destabilise the system or slow equilibration.
Unlike in the NVT ensemble, this combination of barostat and thermostat is
very sensitive to the choice of both
MD.tauP; note that
their values are somewhat higher in this case, since integration errors in the
NHC tend to be more severe due to coupling of the cell and atomic motions. They
are dependent on the system, so it is advised that you find a combination of
these parameters that gives the best energy conservation. The cell is
thermostatted using a separate Nose-Hoover chain to the atoms by default, but
they can be controlled with the same chain by setting
MD.CellNHC F. An ad
hoc drag factor specified by
MD.PDrag reduces the thermostat and cell
velocities at every timestep to damp out the ringing fluctuations. In this case,
they are reduced by \(10/200 \simeq 5\%\), which strictly speaking breaks the NPT
dynamics, but not significantly, and the stability is significantly improved.
Note that the NPT ensemble can also be generated correctly by thermostatting
using the SVR thermostat, although the meaning of the parameter
different in this case, as in NVT dynamics.
Details of Python post-processing tools for CONQUEST can be found in Molecular dynamics analysis.
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A. M. N. Niklasson. Extended Born-Oppenheimer Molecular Dynamics. Phys. Rev. Lett., 100:123004, 2008. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.123004.
G. Bussi, D. Donadio, and M. Parrinello. Canonical sampling through velocity rescaling. J. Chem. Phys., 126:014101, 2007. doi:10.1063/1.2408420.
S. Nosé. A unified formulation of the constant temperature molecular dynamics methods. J. Chem. Phys., 81:511, 1984. doi:10.1063/1.447334.
W. G. Hoover. Canonical dynamics: Equilibrium phase-space distributions. Phys. Rev. A, 31:1695, 1985. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.31.1695.
G. J. Martyna, M. L. Klein, and M. Tuckerman. Nosé–hoover chains: the canonical ensemble via continuous dynamics. J. Chem. Phys., 97:2635, 1992. doi:10.1063/1.463940.
M. Parrinello and A. Rahman. Polymorphic transitions in single crystals: A new molecular dynamics method. J. Appl. Phys., 52:7182–7190, December 1981. doi:10.1063/1.328693.
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