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  1. Photoactive organic and hybrid organic–inorganic materials such as conjugated polymers, covalent organic frameworks (COFs), metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), and layered perovskites, display intriguing photophysical signatures upon interaction with light. Elucidating structure–photophysics–property relationships across a broad range of functional materials is nontrivial and requires our fundamental understanding of the intricate interplay among excitons (electron–hole pair), polarons (charges), bipolarons, phonons (vibrations), inter-layer stacking interactions, and different forms of structural and conformational defects. In parallel with electronic structure modeling and data-driven science that are actively pursued to successfully accelerate materials discovery, an accurate, computationally inexpensive, and physically-motivated theoretical model, which consistently makes quantitative connections with conceptually complicated experimental observations, is equally important. Within this context, the first part of this perspective highlights a unified theoretical framework in which the electronic coupling as well as the local coupling between the electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom can be efficiently described for a broad range of quasiparticles with similarly structured Holstein-style vibronic Hamiltonians. The second part of this perspective discusses excitonic and polaronic photophysical signatures in polymers, COFs, MOFs, and perovskites, and attempts to bridge the gap between different research fields using a common theoretical construct – the Multiparticle Holstein Formalism. We envision that the synergistic integration of state-of-the-art computational approaches with the Multiparticle Holstein Formalism will help identify and establish new, transformative design strategies that will guide the synthesis and characterization of next-generation energy materials optimized for a broad range of optoelectronic, spintronic, and photonic applications. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  2. Density functional theory (DFT) has been applied to modeling molecular interactions in water for over three decades. The ubiquity of water in chemical and biological processes demands a unified understanding of its physics, from the single molecule to the thermodynamic limit and everything in between. Recent advances in the development of data-driven and machine-learning potentials have accelerated simulation of water and aqueous systems with DFT accuracy. However, anomalous properties of water in the condensed phase, where a rigorous treatment of both local and non-local many-body (MB) interactions is in order, are often unsatisfactory or partially missing in DFT models of water. In this review, we discuss the modeling of water and aqueous systems based on DFT and provide a comprehensive description of a general theoretical/computational framework for the development of data-driven many-body potentials from DFT reference data. This framework, coined MB-DFT, readily enables efficient many-body molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of small molecules, in both gas and condensed phases, while preserving the accuracy of the underlying DFT model. Theoretical considerations are emphasized, including the role that the delocalization error plays in MB-DFT potentials of water and the possibility to elevate DFT and MB-DFT to near-chemical-accuracy through a density-corrected formalism. The development of the MB-DFT framework is described in detail, along with its application in MB-MD simulations and recent extension to the modeling of reactive processes in solution within a quantum mechanics/MB molecular mechanics (QM/MB-MM) scheme, using water as a prototypical solvent. Finally, we identify open challenges and discuss future directions for MB-DFT and QM/MB-MM simulations in condensed phases. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
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  6. Abstract

    Density functional theory (DFT) has been extensively used to model the properties of water. Albeit maintaining a good balance between accuracy and efficiency, no density functional has so far achieved the degree of accuracy necessary to correctly predict the properties of water across the entire phase diagram. Here, we present density-corrected SCAN (DC-SCAN) calculations for water which, minimizing density-driven errors, elevate the accuracy of the SCAN functional to that of “gold standard” coupled-cluster theory. Building upon the accuracy of DC-SCAN within a many-body formalism, we introduce a data-driven many-body potential energy function, MB-SCAN(DC), that quantitatively reproduces coupled cluster reference values for interaction, binding, and individual many-body energies of water clusters. Importantly, molecular dynamics simulations carried out with MB-SCAN(DC) also reproduce the properties of liquid water, which thus demonstrates that MB-SCAN(DC) is effectively the first DFT-based model that correctly describes water from the gas to the liquid phase.

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  7. null (Ed.)
    Understanding the underlying physical mechanisms that govern charge transport in two-dimensional (2D) covalent organic frameworks (COFs) will facilitate the development of novel COF-based devices for optoelectronic and thermoelectric applications. In this context, the low-energy mid-infrared absorption contains valuable information about the structure–property relationships and the extent of intra- and inter-framework “hole” polaron delocalization in doped and undoped polymeric materials. In this study, we provide a quantitative characterization of the intricate interplay between electronic defects, domain sizes, pore volumes, chemical dopants, and three dimensional anisotropic charge migration in 2D COFs. We compare our simulations with recent experiments on doped COF films and establish the correlations between polaron coherence, conductivity, and transport signatures. By obtaining the first quantitative agreement with the measured absorption spectra of iodine doped (aza)triangulene-based COF, we highlight the fundamental differences between the underlying microstructure, spectral signatures, and transport physics of polymers and COFs. Our findings provide conclusive evidence of why iodine doped COFs exhibit lower conductivity compared to doped polythiophenes. Finally, we propose new research directions to address existing limitations and improve charge transport in COFs for applications in functional molecular electronic devices. 
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