Reactive force field potential with shielded long-range Coulomb interaction: Application to graphene-water capacitors

U Nwankwo and CH Lam and N Onofrio, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 134, 184502 (2023).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0173333

Electrode-electrolyte interfacial properties characterize the functioning of electrochemical devices, and reactive molecular dynamics simulations, using reactive force fields (ReaxFF) and charge equilibration (QEq) techniques, are classical atomistic methods for investigating the processes that govern the device properties. However, the numerical implementation of ReaxFF and QEq treats Coulomb interaction with a short-distance cutoff for computational speed, thereby limiting interactions among atoms to a domain containing only their neighbor lists. Excluding long-distance Coulomb interactions makes the description of electrostatics in large-scale systems intractable. We apply Ewald sum in the extension of ReaxFF to include long-range Coulomb (LRC) interactions and investigate the effect of the inclusion on the electrostatic and capacitive properties of graphene-water interfaces at different applied potentials in comparison with the original ReaxFF. The study shows that with the inclusion of long-range Coulomb, the capacitance amounts to 4.9 +/- 0.2 mu F cm(-2) compared with 4.4 +/- 0.2 mu F cm(-2) predicted by the original ReaxFF with short-range Coulomb (SRC); thus, indicating that SRC underestimates the capacitance of water between graphene walls by 12% when compared with the 5.0 mu F cm(-2) predicted with the extended simple point charge (SPC/E) water model. Thus, the results indicate that LRC ReaxFF/QEq have the ability and advantage to model electrochemical processes at a more realistic Coulomb interaction description and foster the processing of the details about the operation of electrochemical devices than the SRC.

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