Force Decomposition Analysis: A method to decompose intermolecular forces into physically relevant component contributions



Computational quantum chemistry can be more than just numerical experiments when methods are specifically adapted to investigate chemical concepts. One important example is the development of energy decomposition analysis (EDA) to reveal the physical driving forces behind intermolecular interactions. In EDA, typically the interaction energy from a good-quality density functional theory (DFT) calculation is decomposed into multiple additive components that unveil permanent and induced electrostatics, Pauli repulsion, dispersion, and charge-transfer contributions to non-covalent interactions. Herein, we formulate, implement and investigate decomposing the forces associated with intermolecular interactions into the same components. The resulting force decomposition analysis (FDA) is potentially useful as a complement to the EDA to understand chemistry, while also providing far more information than an EDA for data analysis purposes such as training physics-based force fields. We apply the FDA based on absolutely localized molecular orbitals (ALMOs) to analyze interactions of water with sodium and chloride ions as well as in the water dimer. We also analyze the forces responsible for geometric changes in carbon dioxide upon adsorption onto (and activation by) gold and silver anions. We also investigate how the force components of an EDA-based force field for water clusters, namely MB-UCB, compare to those from force decomposition analysis.


Supplementary material

Supplementary Material
This covers some aspects discussed in the paper, such as explicit derivation of the electrostatic energy derivative and internal coordinates among other things.