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POSCAR file

This file contains the lattice geometry and the ionic positions, optionally also starting velocities and predictor-corrector coordinates for a MD-run. The usual format is:

Cubic BN
   3.57
 0.0 0.5 0.5
 0.5 0.0 0.5
 0.5 0.5 0.0
   1 1
Selective dynamics
Cartesian
 0.00 0.00 0.00 T T F
 0.25 0.25 0.25 F F F
Cartesian
 0.01 0.01 0.01
 0.00 0.00 0.00
optionally predictor-corrector coordinates 
   given on file CONTCAR of MD-run
  ....
  ....
or
Cubic BN
   3.57
 0.0 0.5 0.5
 0.5 0.0 0.5
 0.5 0.5 0.0
   1 1
Direct
 0.00 0.00 0.00 
 0.25 0.25 0.25
The first line is treated as a comment line (you should write down the 'name' of the system). The second line provides a universal scaling factor ('lattice constant'), which is used to scale all lattice vectors and all atomic coordinates. (If this value is negative it is interpreted as the total volume of the cell). On the following three lines the three lattice vectors defining the unit cell of the system are given (first line corresponding to the first lattice vector, second to the second, and third to the third). The sixth line supplies the number of atoms per atomic species (one number for each atomic species). The ordering must be consistent with the POTCAR and the INCAR file. The seventh line switches to 'Selective dynamics' (only the first character is relevant and must be 'S' or 's'). This mode allows to provide extra flags for each atom signaling whether the respective coordinate(s) of this atom will be allowed to change during the ionic relaxation. This setting is useful if only certain 'shells' around a defect or 'layers' near a surface should relax. Mind: The 'Selective dynamics' input tag is optional: The seventh line supplies the switch between cartesian and direct lattice if the 'Selective dynamics' tag is omitted.

The seventh line (or eighth line if 'selective dynamics' is switched on) specifies whether the atomic positions are provided in cartesian coordinates or in direct coordinates (respectively fractional coordinates). As in the file KPOINTS only the first character on the line is significant and the only key characters recognized by VASP are 'C', 'c', 'K' or 'k' for switching to the cartesian mode. The next lines give the three coordinates for each atom. In the direct mode the positions are given by

$\displaystyle {\vec R} = x_1 {\vec a}_1 + x_2 {\vec a}_2 + x_3 {\vec a}_3
$

where $ {\vec a}_{1...3}$ are the three basis vectors, and $ x_{1...3}$ are the supplied values. In the cartesian mode the positions are only scaled by the factor $ s$ on the second line of the POSCAR file

$\displaystyle {\vec R} = s \left( \begin{array}{c}
x_1 \\ x_2 \\ x_3
\end{array} \right).
$

The ordering of these lines must be correct and consistent with the number of atoms per species on the sixth line. If your are not sure whether you have a correct input please check the OUTCAR file, which contains both the final components of the vector $ {\vec R}$, and the positions in direct (fractional) coordinates. If selective dynamics are switched on each coordinate-triplet is followed by three additional logical flags determining whether to allow changes of the coordinates or not (in our example the 1. coordinate of atom 1 and all coordinates of atom 2 are fixed). If the line 'Selective dynamics' is removed from the file POSCAR these flag will be ignored (and internally set to .T.).

Mind: The flags refer to the positions of the ions in direct coordinates, no matter whether the positions are entered in cartesian or direct coordinates. Therefore, in the example given above the first ion is allowed to move into the direction of the first and second direct lattice vector.

If no initial velocities are provided, the file may end here. For molecular dynamics the velocities are initialised randomly according to a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution at the initial temperature TEBEG (see section 6.29).

Entering velocities by hand is rarely done, except for the case IBRION=0 and SMASS=-2 (see section 6.30). In this case the initial velocities are kept constant allowing to calculate the energy for a set of different linear dependent positions (for instance frozen phonons, section 9.9, dimers with varying bond-length, section 9.6). As previously the first line supplies a switch between cartesian coordinates and direct coordinates. On the next lines the initial velocities are provided. They are given in units ($ \AA$/fs, no multiplication with the scaling factor in this case) or (direct lattice vector/timestep).

Mind: For IBRION=0 and SMASS=-2 the actual steps taken are POTIM*read velocities. To avoid ambiguities, set POTIM to 1. In this case the velocities are simply interpreted as vectors, along which the ions are moved. For the "cartesian" switch, the vector is given in cartesian coordinates($ \AA$, no multiplication with the scaling factor in this case) for the "direct" switch the vector is given in direct coordinates.

The predictor-corrector coordinates are only provided to continue a molecular dynamic run from a CONTCAR-file of a previous run, they can not be entered by hand.


next up previous contents index
Next: CONTCAR file Up: Files used by VASP Previous: IBZKPT file   Contents   Index
N.B. Requests for support are to be addressed to: vasp.materialphysik@univie.ac.at