Basic Keywords


The input syntax for gibbs2 is free-format and keyword-driven. Comments are preceded by the # symbol, and they can be used at any point in the input file. Lines are continued using the \ symbol:

# this is a comment
this is \
  a long \
  long \

Each command starts with a unique keyword that modifies the behavior of gibbs2. The most important keyword is PHASE, which specifies a new system for the calculation of thermodynamic properties (see here for a complete but simple example).

The rest of the manual describes the gibbs2 keywords. In the syntax specification, integer, real and string values are denoted by i, r and s suffixes, respectively. Optional arguments are enclosed in brackets ([]). Alternative keywords are grouped by curly braces and separated using a bar (|).

Mandatory keywords

Every gibbs2 input must contain at least three keywords: NAT (or VFREE, they are the same), MM, and PHASE.

NAT nat.i
VFREE nat.i

The NAT and VFREE keywords give the number of atoms in the system (NAT and VFREE are equivalent). Typically, the easiest choice is to set NAT to be the same as the number of atoms in the unit cell but another common choice is to use the number of atoms per formula unit. See below for an explanation of how to pick NAT for your system.

The MM keyword is also mandatory:

MM mm.r

This keyword gives the mass per NAT atoms, in atomic mass units (amu).

The third mandatory keyword is PHASE. PHASE defines a new phase for which thermodynamic properties will be calculated. In most cases, PHASE corresponds to an actual phase of a solid (e.g. the B2 phase of NaCl). However, PHASE is more general. For instance, two different phases can be defined using the same data but different temperature models to incorporate vibrational effects.

The full syntax of PHASE is:

PHASE name.s [FILE file.s [U|USING a:b[:c]]] [Z z.r] ...
  # comment
  v1.r e1.r [td1.r nef1.r f1.r f2.r f3.r f4.r ts1.r ts2.r ts3.r ts4.r phdos1.s
             int1.r int2.r ...]
                        INF|QUOTIENT|X1|X3|XINV3|X3INV|V} [order.i|0]}]
          [REG {LAD|LSQ}] [FIX i1.i v1.r i2.i v2.r ...]
                   DEBYE_EINSTEIN [FREQG0 file.s]|
                   DEBYE_GRUNEISEN {SLATER|DM|VZ|MFV|a.r b.r}|
          [PHFIELD ifield.i] [DOSFIELD i1.i i2.i]|}] [PREFIX prefix.s]
          [POISSON sigma.r] [FSTEP step.r]
PHASE ... [EEC NOSCAL|PSHIFT vexp.r|BPSCAL vexp.r bexp.r|APBAF vexp.r|USE phase.i]
          [EEC_P pext.r] [EEC_T text.r] 
PHASE ... [ELEC SOMMERFELD FREE SOMMERFELD [icol.i] POL4 [icol1.i]] [NELEC nelec.i]
PHASE ... [INTERPOLATE f1.i [f2.i ...]] [EXTEND]

However intimidating, most of these keywords are optional and not used very often. They are described in detail in the rest of the manual. For now, we focus on the basic options to PHASE, which are:

PHASE name.s [FILE file.s [U|USING a:b[:c]]] [Z z.r] ...
  # comment
  v1.r e1.r [td1.r nef1.r f1.r f2.r f3.r f4.r ts1.r ts2.r ts3.r ts4.r phdos1.s
             int1.r int2.r ...]

The PHASE keyword must be followed by the name of the phase (name.s), which can be any arbitrary name of your choice. This name will be used in the output and in the plots to identify the phase.

The fundamental data for a given phase is the energy-volume curve. For each phase, at least a list of volume-energy data pairs must be provided corresponding to a set of volumes and the corresponding energies obtained from a constant-volume or constant-pressure geometry relaxation. In many cases, additional information, such as the Debye temperatures or the location of the phonon densities of states, must be provided as well. There are two ways to pass this information to gibbs2: either inline or using an external file. In the inline method, you simply list the information after the PHASE keyword, and finish the input of data with ENDPHASE:

 81.8883583665837   -73.5171659350000
160.0000000000000   -73.5662512150000

If a external file is used, then the same information is written to a file (say, mgo.dat) and then passed to gibbs2 using the FILE keyword:

PHASE FILE mgo.dat USING 2:3

The USING keyword (equivalently, “U”) indicates in which columns of the data file gibbs2 can find the volume (default: first column) and the energy (default: second). In the example above, the volume is found in the second column and the energy in the third column.

The last important optional keyword to PHASE is Z. The volumes and energies in the input must correspond to a number of atoms equal to Z times NAT atoms. By default, Z is 1. A simple example illustrating the use of NAT and Z is given below.

Additional PHASE options

The following is an overview of the other optional keywords to PHASE. A more lengthy explanation of these keywords can be found in the corresponding keywords:

  • The FIT keyword controls the type of equation of state used to fit the static and free energy versus volume data. Additional controls for FIT are provided by REG and FIX.

  • The TMODEL keyword selects the temperature model, i.e., the way in which gibbs2 incorporates the vibrational effects into the calculation of the free energy. Additional options for TMODEL are provided by the PREFIX, POISSON, LAUE, and FSTEP keywords.

  • The ELEC keyword allows incorporating (in a rough way) the electronic contribution to the free energy, which is only important in metals and at very low temperatures.

  • The EEC keyword activates the use of empirical energy corrections. These are corrections designed to improve the calculation of thermodynamic properties by using experimental data to correct the shortcomings of approximate density-functional theory.

  • It is possible to interpolate satellite data, such as the cell parameters or the atomic positions, with the INTERPOLATE keyword.

  • Finally, there are a number of optional keywords to change the units, interpret pressure-volume data, and other ancillary functions.

How many atoms are there in my system?

The use of NAT, MM, Z, and the input volumes and energies is often a source of confusion. The following rules apply:

  • NAT can be chosen as any multiple of the system’s formula unit. In the output, all extensive thermodynamic properties (energy, free energies, entropy,…) are given per NAT atoms.

  • MM is the mass of NAT atoms.

  • The volumes and energies for a given phase must correspond to NAT times Z atoms, where Z is the value that applies to that phase.

For example, if we are studying the benzene crystal, we could choose an NAT of 12, corresponding to a benzene molecule (C6H6). The primitive cell of the benzene crystal structure at ambient conditions (with space group Pbca) contains 48 atoms. Therefore, NAT could also be set to 48. Another option is to use the asymmetric unit of the crystal (with 6 atoms, NAT = 6) or the formula unit (CH, with NAT=2). Ultimately, any NAT value that is a multiple of the number of atoms in the formula unit (2) is valid.

Once NAT is set, MM is the mass corresponding to NAT atoms, in amu (or the molar mass in g/mol). For instance, if we used the formula unit as reference in the benzene example (CH, NAT = 2), then MM would be amu. If, instead, we use a benzene molecule as our reference, then NAT = 12 (C6H6) and MM = amu.

Benzene can crystallize in a number of different (metastable) polymorphs. The aforementioned Pbca phase has 48 atoms in the unit cell but the P21/c polymorph has 24 atoms in the primitive cell only. Whatever the choice of NAT, Z*NAT must be equal to 48 for the Pbca phase and 24 for the P21/c phase. The following inputs for the study of the two phases would be valid. Per formula unit (CH)

MM 13.01864
PHASE Pbca Z 24 FILE Pbca.dat 
PHASE P21c Z 12 FILE P21c.dat 

Per molecule (C6H6):

NAT 12
MM 78.1118
PHASE Pbca Z 4 FILE Pbca.dat 
PHASE P21c Z 2 FILE P21c.dat 

Per two molecules (C24H24):

NAT 24
MM 78.1118
PHASE Pbca Z 2 FILE Pbca.dat 
PHASE P21c Z 1 FILE P21c.dat 

In this last case the “Z 1” in the P21c phase can be omitted, since one is the default value. In the output, extensive properties are given per formula unit in the first case, per molecule in the second, and per two molecules in the third cases. In all three cases, Pbca.dat and P21c.dat contain the volumes and energies corresponding to a unit cell (48 atoms in Pbca and 24 atoms in P21c). This a natural choice, since they can be extracted without modification from the output of the electronic structure calculation.

Optional keywords

This section lists basic keywords that modify the conditions of the run but are not required for gibbs2 to operate.

TITLE title.s

The TITLE keyword sets the title of the gibbs2 run. This only affects the output.

EOUTPUT [vini.r vstep.r vend.r]

The EOUTPUT keyword prints the static energy of each phase to external files (with extension .edat). Without any options, the volume grid in input is used. This option can be used to print the corrected static energies when using empirical energy corrections.

In addition, a new volume grid can be chosen by indicating an initial (vini.r), final (vend.r) and volume step (vstep.r). This is useful when extrapolating the input static energy or when generating more energy-volume points for other purposes. Please note that it is important to use an EOS with few parameters to extrapolate (e.g. BM3). The default averages of strain polynomials behave badly on extrapolation.


Ends the run. This keyword is not necessary for a correct termination of gibbs2.

Choosing the pressure and temperature ranges

Gibbs2 calculates thermodynamic quantities at arbitrary pressure and temperature. The following keywords control the list of pressure and temperature points on which these properties are computed.

PRESSURE pini.r pstep.r pend.r
PRESSURE pstep.r
PRESSURE npres.i
 p1.r p2.r p3.r ...
 p4.r ...

The PRESSURE keyword gives the list of pressures where the thermodynamic properties are calculated. If three real numbers are passed (pini.r, pstep.r, pend.r), then they determine the pressure range: from pini.r to pend.r with a step of pstep.r. If only a real number is given (pstep.r) then the default pressure range is used: pini.r is assumed to be zero and pend.r is the highest pressure calculable from the input data. If a single integer is passed to PRESSURE (npres.i), then use npres.i pressure points in the same default range.

In addition, an explicitly list of pressures can be given in the form of a PRESSURE/ENDPRESSURE environment. This environment can span any number of lines with an arbitrary number of fields per line, and comments are allowed. Finally, a single 0 in the PRESSURE keyword tells gibbs2 to use only zero pressure.

By default, 100 pressure points are calculate from zero up to the maximum pressure calculable from the input data or up to 500 GPa, whichever is lowest.

VOLUME vini.r vstep.r vend.r
VOLUME vstep.r
VOLUME nvols.i
 v1.r v2.r v3.r ...
 v4.r ...

In addition to using a pressure list, properties can be calculated at points given temperature and volume. The VOLUME keyword gives the list of volumes where properties are calculated. The syntax is equivalent to the PRESSURE keyword. Using VOLUME INPUT, the volumes of the input grid are used.

TEMPERATURE tini.r tstep.r tend.r
 t1.r t2.r t3.r ...
 t4.r ...

The TEMPERATURE keyword gives the list of temperatures where the thermodynamic properties are calculated. If three real numbers are passed (tini.r, tstep.r, tend.r), then they determine the temperature range: from tini.r to tend.r with a step of tstep.r. If only a real number is given (tstep.r) then the default temperature range is used: tini.r is assumed to be zero and tend.r is the lowest Debye temperature calculated using Slater’s formula times 1.5. If a single integer is passed to TEMPERATURE (ntemp.i), then use ntemp.i temperature points in the same default range.

In addition, an explicity list of temperatures can be given in the form of a TEMPERATURE/ENDTEMPERATURE environment. This environment can span any number of lines with an arbitrary number of fields per line, and comments are allowed. Finally, a single 0 in the TEMPERATURE keyword tells gibbs2 to use only zero temperature. A single -1 in the TEMPERATURE keyword tells gibbs2 to use only room temperature (298.15 K).

By default, if no TEMPERATURE keyword is given, 100 temperature points are calculated from zero up to a maximum temperature. The maximum temperature is 1.5 times the minimum Debye temperature, if the thermal model is based on the Debye model. Otherwise, tha maximum temperature is room temperature (298.15 K).