Many-body potential energy surfaces (PESs) for describing atomic interactions in gas-solid and surface reaction dynamics are reviewed in this work. Initial PESs from the 1960s-1970s were restricted to a diatomic molecule interacting with a solid surface. Since the 1980s, a multitude of many-body reactive PESs, their parameterization, and their applications have been reported in the literature. Although we mention most of the PESs in general, we have chosen to describe only those that either have had general utility or have had staying power, i.e. they have been used widely by other research groups. The potentials discussed in the most detail are the Stillinger-Weber and Tersoff Si PESs, the Brenner hydrocarbon PES, and the embedded-atom method (EAM) style potentials for metals. We conclude that although these PESs have been used successfully in large-scale computer simulations, further development is needed in many-body PESs. In particular, the development of new functional forms for multicomponent reactive systems is required.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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