Development of a ReaxFF reactive force field for aqueous chloride and copper chloride

Obaidur Rahaman, Adri C.T. Van Duin, Vyacheslav S. Bryantsev, Jonathan E. Mueller, Santiago D. Solares, William A. Goddard, Douglas J. Doren

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54 Scopus citations


Copper ions play crucial roles in many enzymatic and aqueous processes. A critical analysis of the fundamental properties of copper complexes is essential to understand their impact on a wide range of chemical interactions. However the study of copper complexes is complicated by the presence of strong polarization and charge transfer effects, multiple oxidation states, and quantum effects like Jahn-Teller distortions. These complications make the experimental observations difficult to interpret. In order to provide a computationally inexpensive yet reliable method for simulation of aqueous-phase copper chemistry, ReaxFF reactive force field parameters have been developed. The force field parameters have been trained against a large set of DFT-derived energies for condensed-phase copper-chloride clusters as well as chloride/water and copper-chloride/water clusters sampled from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The parameters were optimized by iteratively training them against configurations generated from ReaxFF MD simulations that are performed multiple times with improved sets of parameters. This cycle was repeated until the ReaxFF results were in accordance with the DFT-derived values. We have performed MD simulations on chloride/water and copper-chloride/water systems to validate the optimized force field. The structural properties of the chloride/water system are in accord with previous experimental and computational studies. The properties of copper-chloride/water agreed with the experimental observations including evidence of the Jahn-Teller distortion. The results of this study demonstrate the applicability of ReaxFF for the precise characterization of aqueous copper chloride. This force field provides a base for the design of a computationally inexpensive tool for the investigation of various properties and functions of metal ions in industrial, environmental, and biological environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3556-3568
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 18 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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