Force fields and molecular dynamics simulations
Institut Laue Langevin, 6 rue Jules Horowitz, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
The objective of this review is to serve as an introductory guide for the non-expert to the exciting field of Molecular Dynamics (MD). MD simulations generate a phase space trajectory by integrating the classical equations of motion for a system of N particles. Here I review the basic concepts needed to understand the technique, what are the key elements to perform a simulation and which is the information that can be extracted from it. I will start defining what is a force field, which are the terms composing a classical force field, how the parameters of the potential are optimized, and which are the more popular force fields currently employed and the lines of research to improve them. Then the Molecular Dynamics technique will be introduced, including a general overview of the main algorithms employed to integrate the equations of motion, compute the long-range forces, work on different thermodynamic ensembles, or reduce the computational time. Finally the main properties that can be computed from a MD trajectory are briefly introduced.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences 2011