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See detailCollective many-body van der Waals interactions in molecular systems
DiStasio Jr., R. A.; Von Lilienfeld, O. A.; Tkatchenko, Alexandre UL

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2012), 109(37), 14791-14795

Van der Waals (vdW) interactions are ubiquitous in molecules and condensed matter, and play a crucial role in determining the structure, stability, and function for a wide variety of systems. The accurate ... [more ▼]

Van der Waals (vdW) interactions are ubiquitous in molecules and condensed matter, and play a crucial role in determining the structure, stability, and function for a wide variety of systems. The accurate prediction of these interactions from first principles is a substantial challenge because they are inherently quantum mechanical phenomena that arise from correlations between many electrons within a given molecular system. We introduce an efficient method that accurately describes the nonadditive many-body vdW energy contributions arising from interactions that cannot be modeled by an effective pairwise approach, and demonstrate that such contributions can significantly exceed the energy of thermal fluctuations - a critical accuracy threshold highly coveted during molecular simulations - in the prediction of several relevant properties. Cases studied include the binding affinity of ellipticine, a DNA-intercalating anticancer agent, the relative energetics between the A- and B-conformations of DNA, and the thermodynamic stability among competing paracetamol molecular crystal polymorphs. Our findings suggest that inclusion of the many-body vdW energy is essential for achieving chemical accuracy and therefore must be accounted for in molecular simulations. [less ▲]

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