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J Chem Theory Comput. 2012 Aug 14;8(8):2844-67. doi: 10.1021/ct3002199. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

Improved Atoms-in-Molecule Charge Partitioning Functional for Simultaneously Reproducing the Electrostatic Potential and Chemical States in Periodic and Nonperiodic Materials.

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School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Drive N.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0100, United States.


We develop a nonempirical atoms-in-molecules (AIM) method for computing net atomic charges that simultaneously reproduce chemical states of atoms in a material and the electrostatic potential V(r) outside its electron distribution. This method gives accurate results for a variety of periodic and nonperiodic materials including molecular systems, solid surfaces, porous solids, and nonporous solids. This method, called DDEC/c3, improves upon our previously published DDEC/c2 method (Manz, T. A.; Sholl, D. S. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2010, 6, 2455-2468) by accurately treating nonporous solids with short bond lengths. Starting with the theory all AIM charge partitioning functionals with spherically symmetric atomic weights must satisfy, the form of the DDEC/c3 functional is derived from first principles. The method is designed to converge robustly by avoiding conditions that lead to nearly flat optimization landscapes. In addition to net atomic charges, the method can also compute atomic multipoles and atomic spin moments. Calculations performed on a variety of systems demonstrate the method's accuracy, computational efficiency, and good agreement with available experimental data. Comparisons to a variety of other charge assignment methods (Bader, natural population analysis, electrostatic potential fitting, Hirshfeld, iterative Hirshfeld, and iterative stockholder atoms) show that the DDEC/c3 net atomic charges are well-suited for constructing flexible force-fields for atomistic simulations.


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