Realization of prediction of materials properties by ab initio computer simulation

Yoshiyuki Kawazoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Ab initio treatment is becoming realistic to predict physical, chemical, and even mechanical properties of academically and industrially interesting materials. There is, however, some limitation in size and time of the system up to the order of several hundred atoms and ∼ 1 pico second, even if we use the fastest supercomputer efficiently. Therefore, it is very difficult to simulate realistic materials with grain boundaries and important reactions like diffusion in materials. To improve this situation, two ways have been invented. One way is to upgrade approximations to match the necessary levels according to inhomogeneous electron gas theory beyond the present day standard, i.e. local density approximation (LDA). The reason is simply that the system we are interested in is composed of many particles interacting with Coulomb forces governed by quantum mechanics. (Complete knowledge is available, and only what we should do is to make better approximations to explain the phenomena!). Another is to extract the necessary parameters from the ab initio calculations on systems with limited number of atoms, and apply these results into cluster variation, direct, or any other sophisticated methods based on classical concepts such as statistical mechanics. In this paper, several typical examples recently worked out by our research group are introduced to indicate that these methodologies are actually possible to be successfully used to predict materials properties before experiments based on the present day state-of-art supercomputing systems. It includes scientific visualization of the results of ab initio molecular dynamics simulation on atom insertion process to C60 and to carbon nanotube, tight-binding calculation of single electron conductance properties in nanotube to create nano-scale diode virtually by computer, which will be a base of future nanoscale electric device in nanometer size, Li + H reaction without Born-Oppenheimer approximation, structural phase transitions in perovskite materials under very high pressure in earth by direct method, and prediction of wavelength of emitted light from Na clusters with GW (G = Green function-vertex, W = screened Coulomb interaction) approximation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalBulletin of Materials Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jan


  • Ab initio computer simulation
  • Materials properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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