Extending the time scale in atomistic simulation of materials
Obtaining a good atomistic description of diffusion dynamics in materials has been a daunting task owing to the time-scale limitations of the molecular dynamics method. We discuss promising new methods, derived from transition state theory, for accelerating molecular dynamics simulations of these infrequent-event processes. These methods, hyperdynamics, parallel replica dynamics, temperature-accelerated dynamics, and on-the-fly kinetic Monte Carlo, can reach simulation times several orders of magnitude longer than direct molecular dynamics while retaining full atomistic detail. Most applications so far have involved surface diffusion and growth, but it is clear that these methods can address a wide range of materials problems.