Classical atomistic simulations of surfaces and heterogeneous interfaces with the charge-optimized many body (COMB) potentials

Tao Liang, Tzu Ray Shan, Yu Ting Cheng, Bryce D. Devine, Mark Noordhoek, Yangzhong Li, Zhize Lu, Simon R. Phillpot, Susan B. Sinnott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Interest in atomic scale computational simulations of multi-phase systems has grown as our ability to simulate nanometer-sized systems has become commonplace. The recently developed charge optimized many body potential (COMB) potentials have significantly enhanced the atomic-scale simulation of heterogeneous material systems, including chemical reactions at surfaces and the physical properties of interfaces. The COMB formalism, which merges variable charge electrostatic interactions with a classical analytical potential, has the capacity to adaptively model metallic, covalent, ionic and van der Waals bonding in the same simulation cell and dynamically determine the charges according to the local environment. Presented here is the theoretical background and evolution of the COMB potential family. The parameterization of the potential is described for several metals, ceramics, a semiconductor, and hydrocarbons, with the intent that the final parameter sets are consistent among materials. The utility of this approach is illustrated with several examples that explore the structure, stability, and mechanical and thermal properties of metallic systems and metal-ceramic and semi-conductor oxide interfaces, including surfaces and/or interfaces of copper and cuprite, copper and silica, silicon and silica, silicon and hafnia, and copper and zinc oxide. The potential is also applied to the simulation of atomic scale processes such as early stage oxidation of copper surfaces, tensile test of polycrystalline zirconium, and hyper-thermal deposition of ethyl radicals on selected copper surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-279
Number of pages25
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering R: Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Classical atomistic simulations of surfaces and heterogeneous interfaces with the charge-optimized many body (COMB) potentials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this