A Transferable, Polarisable Force Field for Ionic Liquids

A general, transferable polarisable force field for molecular simulation of ionic liquids and their mixtures with molecular compounds is developed. This polarisable model is derived from the widely used CL\&P fixed-charge force field that describes most families of ionic liquids, in a form compatible with OPLS-AA, one of the major force fields for organic compounds. Models for ionic liquids with fixed, integer ionic charges lead to pathologically slow dynamics, a problem that is corrected when polarisation effects are included explicitly. In the model proposed here, Drude induced dipoles are used with parameters determined from atomic polarisabilities. The CL\&P force field is modified upon inclusion of the Drude dipoles, to avoid double-counting of polarisation effects. This modification is based on first-principles calculations of the dispersion and induction contributions to the van der Waals interactions, using symmetry-adapted perturbation theory (SAPT) for a set of dimers composed of positive, negative and neutral fragments representative of a wide variety of ionic liquids. The fragment approach provides transferability, allowing the representation of a multitude of cation and anion families, including different functional groups, without need to re-parametrise. Because SAPT calculations are expensive an alternative predictive scheme was devised, requiring only molecular properties with a clear physical meaning, namely dipole moments and atomic polarisabilities. The new polarisable force field, CL\&Pol, describes a broad set set of ionic liquids and their mixtures with molecular compounds, and is validated by comparisons with experimental data on density, ion diffusion coefficients and viscosity. The approaches proposed here can also be applied to the conversion of other fixed-charged force fields into polarisable versions.