1,326 research outputs found

    Ab initio statistical mechanics of surface adsorption and desorption: II. Nuclear quantum effects

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    We show how the path-integral formulation of quantum statistical mechanics can be used to construct practical {\em ab initio} techniques for computing the chemical potential of molecules adsorbed on surfaces, with full inclusion of quantum nuclear effects. The techniques we describe are based on the computation of the potential of mean force on a chosen molecule, and generalise the techniques developed recently for classical nuclei. We present practical calculations based on density functional theory with a generalised-gradient exchange-correlation functional for the case of H2_2O on the MgO~(001) surface at low coverage. We note that the very high vibrational frequencies of the H2_2O molecule would normally require very large numbers of time slices (beads) in path-integral calculations, but we show that this requirement can be dramatically reduced by employing the idea of thermodynamic integration with respect to the number of beads. The validity and correctness of our path-integral calculations on the H2_2O/MgO~(001) system are demonstrated by supporting calculations on a set of simple model systems for which quantum contributions to the free energy are known exactly from analytic arguments.Comment: 11 pages, including 2 figure

    The energetics of water on oxide surfaces by quantum Monte Carlo

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    Density functional theory (DFT) is widely used in surface science, but gives poor accuracy for oxide surface processes, while high-level quantum chemistry methods are hard to apply without losing basis-set quality. We argue that quantum Monte Carlo techniques allow these difficulties to be overcome, and we present diffusion Monte Carlo results for the formation energy of the MgO(001) surface and the adsorption energy of H2_2O on this surface, using periodic slab geometry. The results agree well with experiment. We note other oxide surface problems where these techniques could yield immediate progress.Comment: 5 pages, 2 figure

    Comment on 'Molybdenum at High Pressure and Temperature: Melting from Another Solid Phase'

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    There has been a major controversy over the past seven years about the high-pressure melting curves of transition metals. Static compression (diamond-anvil cell: DAC) experiments up to the Mbar region give very low melting slopes dT_m/dP, but shock-wave (SW) data reveal transitions indicating much larger dT_m/dP values. Ab initio calculations support the correctness of the shock data. In a very recent letter, Belonoshko et al. propose a simple and elegant resolution of this conflict for molybdenum. Using ab initio calculations based on density functional theory (DFT), they show that the high-P/high-T phase diagram of Mo must be more complex than was hitherto thought. Their calculations give convincing evidence that there is a transition boundary between the normal bcc structure of Mo and a high-T phase, which they suggest could be fcc. They propose that this transition was misinterpreted as melting in DAC experiments. In confirmation, they note that their boundary also explains a transition seen in the SW data. We regard Belonoshko et al.'s Letter as extremely important, but we note that it raises some puzzling questions, and we believe that their proposed phase diagram cannot be completely correct. We have calculated the Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies of the bcc, fcc and hcp phases of Mo, using essentially the same quasiharmonic methods as used by Belonoshko et al.; we find that at high-P and T Mo in the hcp structure is more stable than in bcc or fcc.Comment: 1 page, 1 figure. submitted to Phys. Rev. Let

    Complementary approaches to the ab initio calculation of melting properties

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    Several research groups have recently reported {\em ab initio} calculations of the melting properties of metals based on density functional theory, but there have been unexpectedly large disagreements between results obtained by different approaches. We analyze the relations between the two main approaches, based on calculation of the free energies of solid and liquid and on direct simulation of the two coexisting phases. Although both approaches rely on the use of classical reference systems consisting of parameterized empirical interaction models, we point out that in the free energy approach the final results are independent of the reference system, whereas in the current form of the coexistence approach they depend on it. We present a scheme for correcting the predictions of the coexistence approach for differences between the reference and {\em ab initio} systems. To illustrate the practical operation of the scheme, we present calculations of the high-pressure melting properties of iron using the corrected coexistence approach, which agree closely with earlier results from the free energy approach. A quantitative assessment is also given of finite-size errors, which we show can be reduced to a negligible size.Comment: 14 pages, two figure

    Ab initio statistical mechanics of surface adsorption and desorption: I. H2_2O on MgO (001) at low coverage

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    We present a general computational scheme based on molecular dynamics (m.d.) simulation for calculating the chemical potential of adsorbed molecules in thermal equilibrium on the surface of a material. The scheme is based on the calculation of the mean force in m.d. simulations in which the height of a chosen molecule above the surface is constrained, and subsequent integration of the mean force to obtain the potential of mean force and hence the chemical potential. The scheme is valid at any coverage and temperature, so that in principle it allows the calculation of the chemical potential as a function of coverage and temperature. It avoids all statistical mechanical approximations, except for the use of classical statistical mechanics for the nuclei, and assumes nothing in advance about the adsorption sites. From the chemical potential, the absolute desorption rate of the molecules can be computed, provided the equilibration rate on the surface is faster than the desorption rate. We apply the theory by {\em ab initio} m.d. simulation to the case of H2_2O on MgO (001) in the low-coverage limit, using the Perdew-Burke-Ernzerhof (PBE) form of exchange-correlation. The calculations yield an {\em ab initio} value of the Polanyi-Wigner frequency prefactor, which is more than two orders of magnitude greater than the value of 101310^{13} s−1^{-1} often assumed in the past. Provisional comparison with experiment suggests that the PBE adsorption energy may be too low, but the extension of the calculations to higher coverages is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. The possibility of including quantum nuclear effects by using path-integral simulations is noted.Comment: 11 pages + 10 figure

    Ab-initio chemical potentials of solid and liquid solutions and the chemistry of the Earth's core

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    A general set of methods is presented for calculating chemical potentials in solid and liquid mixtures using {\em ab initio} techniques based on density functional theory (DFT). The methods are designed to give an {\em ab initio} approach to treating chemical equilibrium between coexisting solid and liquid solutions, and particularly the partitioning ratio of solutes between such solutions. For the liquid phase, the methods are based on the general technique of thermodynamic integration, applied to calculate the change of free energy associated with the continuous interconversion of solvent and solute atoms, the required thermal averages being computed by DFT molecular dynamics simulation. For the solid phase, free energies and hence chemical potentials are obtained using DFT calculation of vibrational frequencies of systems containing substitutional solute atoms, with anharmonic contributions calculated, where needed, by thermodynamic integration. The practical use of the methods is illustrated by applying them to study chemical equilibrium between the outer liquid and inner solid parts of the Earth's core, modelled as solutions of S, Si and O in Fe. The calculations place strong constraints on the chemical composition of the core, and allow an estimate of the temperature at the inner-core/outer-core boundary.Comment: 19 pages, two figure
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