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Constrained dynamics and extraction of normal modes from ab initio molecular dynamics: Application to ammonia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number064707
Number of pages19
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2006


We present a methodology for extracting phonon data from ab initio Born-Oppenheimer molecular dynamics calculations of molecular crystals. Conventional ab initio phonon methods based on perturbations are difficult to apply to lattice modes because the perturbation energy is dominated by intramolecular modes. We use constrained molecular dynamics to eliminate the effect of bond bends and stretches and then show how trajectories can be used to isolate and define in particular, the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of modes irrespective of their symmetry or wave vector. This is done by k-point and frequency filtering and projection onto plane wave states. The method is applied to crystalline ammonia: the constrained molecular dynamics allows a significant speedup without affecting structural or vibrational modes. All Gamma point lattice modes are isolated: the frequencies are in agreement with previous studies; however, the mode assignments are different.

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