QuickFF: A program for a quick and easy derivation of force fields for Metal-Organic Frameworks from ab initio input

L. Vanduyfhuys, S. Vandenbrande, T. Verstraelen, R. Schmid, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Computational Chemistry
36, 13, 1015–1027


QuickFF is a software package to derive accurate force fields for isolated and complex molecular systems in a quick and easy manner. Apart from its general applicability, the program has been designed to generate force fields for metal-organic frameworks in an automated fashion. The force field parameters for the covalent interaction are derived from ab initio data. The mathematical expression of the covalent energy is kept simple to ensure robustness and to avoid fitting deficiencies as much as possible. The user needs to produce an equilibrium structure and a Hessian matrix for one or more building units. Afterward, a force field is generated for the system using a three-step method implemented in QuickFF. The first two steps of the methodology are designed to minimize correlations among the force field parameters. In the last step, the parameters are refined by imposing the force field parameters to reproduce the ab initio Hessian matrix in Cartesian coordinate space as accurate as possible. The method is applied on a set of 1000 organic molecules to show the easiness of the software protocol. To illustrate its application to metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), QuickFF is used to determine force fields for MIL-53(Al) and MOF-5. For both materials, accurate force fields were already generated in literature but they requested a lot of manual interventions. QuickFF is a tool that can easily be used by anyone with a basic knowledge of performing ab initio calculations. As a result, accurate force fields are generated with minimal effort.

Open Access version available at UGent repository