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Accounts of Chemical Research





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Three novel fragmentation methods that are available in the electronic structure program GAMESS (general atomic and molecular electronic structure system) are discussed in this Account. The fragment molecular orbital (FMO) method can be combined with any electronic structure method to perform accurate calculations on large molecular species with no reliance on capping atoms or empirical parameters. The FMO method is highly scalable and can take advantage of massively parallel computer systems. For example, the method has been shown to scale nearly linearly on up to 131 000 processor cores for calculations on large water clusters. There have been many applications of the FMO method to large molecular clusters, to biomolecules (e.g., proteins), and to materials that are used as heterogeneous catalysts. The effective fragment potential (EFP) method is a model potential approach that is fully derived from first principles and has no empirically fitted parameters. Consequently, an EFP can be generated for any molecule by a simple preparatory GAMESS calculation. The EFP method provides accurate descriptions of all types of intermolecular interactions, including Coulombic interactions, polarization/induction, exchange repulsion, dispersion, and charge transfer. The EFP method has been applied successfully to the study of liquid water, π-stacking in substituted benzenes and in DNA base pairs, solvent effects on positive and negative ions, electronic spectra and dynamics, non-adiabatic phenomena in electronic excited states, and nonlinear excited state properties. The effective fragment molecular orbital (EFMO) method is a merger of the FMO and EFP methods, in which interfragment interactions are described by the EFP potential, rather than the less accurate electrostatic potential. The use of EFP in this manner facilitates the use of a smaller value for the distance cut-off (Rcut). Rcut determines the distance at which EFP interactions replace fully quantum mechanical calculations on fragment–fragment (dimer) interactions. The EFMO method is both more accurate and more computationally efficient than the most commonly used FMO implementation (FMO2), in which all dimers are explicitly included in the calculation. While the FMO2 method itself does not incorporate three-body interactions, such interactions are included in the EFMO method via the EFP self-consistent induction term. Several applications (ranging from clusters to proteins) of the three methods are discussed to demonstrate their efficacy. The EFMO method will be especially exciting once the analytic gradients have been completed, because this will allow geometry optimizations, the prediction of vibrational spectra, reaction path following, and molecular dynamics simulations using the method.


Reprinted (adapted) with permission from Accounts of Chemical Research 47 (2014): 2786, doi:10.1021/ar500097m. Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society.

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American Chemical Society



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