Recent Advances for Improving the Accuracy, Transferability, and Efficiency of Reactive Force Fields

Itai Leven, Hongxia Hao, Songchen Tan, Xingyi Guan, Katheryn A. Penrod, Dooman Akbarian, Benjamin Evangelisti, Md Jamil Hossain, Md Mahbubul Islam, Jason P. Koski, Stan Moore, Hasan Metin Aktulga, Adri C.T. Van Duin, Teresa Head-Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Reactive force fields provide an affordable model for simulating chemical reactions at a fraction of the cost of quantum mechanical approaches. However, classically accounting for chemical reactivity often comes at the expense of accuracy and transferability, while computational cost is still large relative to nonreactive force fields. In this Perspective, we summarize recent efforts for improving the performance of reactive force fields in these three areas with a focus on the ReaxFF theoretical model. To improve accuracy, we describe recent reformulations of charge equilibration schemes to overcome unphysical long-range charge transfer, new ReaxFF models that account for explicit electrons, and corrections for energy conservation issues of the ReaxFF model. To enhance transferability we also highlight new advances to include explicit treatment of electrons in the ReaxFF and hybrid nonreactive/reactive simulations that make it possible to model charge transfer, redox chemistry, and large systems such as reverse micelles within the framework of a reactive force field. To address the computational cost, we review recent work in extended Lagrangian schemes and matrix preconditioners for accelerating the charge equilibration method component of ReaxFF and improvements in its software performance in LAMMPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3237-3251
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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