Classical Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Run at an Elevated Temperature is Not a Good Model for the Nuclear Quantum Effects in Water at Ambient Temperature

21 September 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


It is a common practice in ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations of water to use an elevated temperature to overcome the over-structuring and slow diffusion predicted by most current density functional theory (DFT) models. The simulation results obtained in this distinct thermodynamic ensemble are then compared with experimental data at ambient temperature based on the rationale that a higher temperature effectively recovers nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) that are missing in the classical AIMD simulations. In this work, we systematically examine the foundation of this assumption for several DFT models as well as for the many-body MB-pol model. We find for the cases studied that a higher temperature does not correctly mimic NQEs at room temperature, which is especially manifest in significantly different three-body correlations as well as dynamics. In many of these cases, the effects of NQEs are exactly the opposite of the effects of carrying out the simulations at an elevated temperature.


ab initio
molecular dynamics
nuclear quantum effects
density functional theory


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.