Publications / Conference

On calculating the equilibrium structure of molecular crystals

Wills, Ann E.; Wixom, Ryan R.; Mattsson, Thomas M.

The difficulty of calculating the ambient properties of molecular crystals, such as the explosive PETN, has long hampered much needed computational investigations of these materials. One reason for the shortcomings is that the exchange-correlation functionals available for Density Functional Theory (DFT) based calculations do not correctly describe the weak intermolecular van der Waals' forces present in molecular crystals. However, this weak interaction also poses other challenges for the computational schemes used. We will discuss these issues in the context of calculations of lattice constants and structure of PETN with a number of different functionals, and also discuss if these limitations can be circumvented for studies at non-ambient conditions.