ADF (pre-2020 version)


This page describes the old interface to the standalone ADF binary. Starting from AMS2020, ADF is an AMS engine and should be run using AMSJob. If you are running AMS2019.3 or older version, you should still use ADFJob

ADF can be run from PLAMS using the ADFJob class and the corresponding ADFResults. The are subclasses of, respectively, SCMJob and SCMResults, which gather common pre-AMS logic for all members of the former ADFSuite.

Preparing input

Input files for ADF consist of blocks and subblocks containing keys and values. That kind of structure can be easily reflected by Settings objects since they are built in a similar way.

The input file is generated based on input branch of job’s Settings. All data present there is translated to input contents. Nested Settings instances define blocks and subblocks, as in the example below:

myjob = ADFJob(molecule=Molecule(''))
myjob.settings.input.basis.type = 'DZP'
myjob.settings.input.basis.core = 'None'
myjob.settings.input.basis.createoutput = 'None'
myjob.settings.input.scf.iterations = 100
myjob.settings.input.scf.converge = '1.0e-06 1.0e-06' = 'TAPE13'

Input file created during execution of myjob looks like:

    #coordinates from

  createoutput None
  core None
  type DZP

save TAPE13

  converge 1.0e-06 1.0e-06
  iterations 100

As you can see, entries present in myjob.settings.input. are listed in the alphabetical order. If an entry is a regular key-value pair it is printed in one line (like save TAPE13 above). If an entry is a nested Settings instance it is printed as a block and entries in this instance correspond to contents of a the block. Both keys and values are kept in their original case. Strings put as values can contain spaces like converge above – the whole string is printed after the key. That allows to handle lines that need to contain more than one key=value pair. If you need to put a key without any value, True or empty string can be given as a value:

>>> myjob.settings.input.geometry.SP = True
>>> myjob.settings.input.writefock = ''
# translates to:


If a value of a particular key is False, that key is omitted. To produce an empty block simply type:

>>> myjob.settings.input.geometry  # this is equivalent to myjob.settings.input.geometry = Settings()

The algorithm translating Settings contents into input file does not check the correctness of the data - it simply takes keys and values from Settings instance and puts them in the text file. Due to that you are not going to be warned if you make a typo, use wrong keyword or improper syntax. Beware of that.

>>> = 'pear'
    apple pear

Some blocks require (or allow) some data to be put in the header line, next to the block name. Special key _h is helpful in these situations:

>>> myjob.settings.input.someblock._h = 'header=very important'
>>> myjob.settings.input.someblock.key1 = 'value1'
>>> myjob.settings.input.someblock.key2 = 'value2'
someblock header=very important
  key1 value1
  key2 value2

The order of blocks within input file and subblocks within a parent block follows Settings iteration order which is lexicographical (however, SCMJob is smart enough to put blocks like DEFINE or UNITS at the top of the input). In rare cases you would want to override this order, for example when you supply ATOMS block manually, which can be done when automatic molecule handling is disabled (see below). That behavior can be achieved by another type of special key:

>>> myjob.settings.input.block._1 = 'entire line that has to be the first line of block'
>>> myjob.settings.input.block._2 = 'second line'
>>> myjob.settings.input.block._4 = 'I will not be printed'
>>> myjob.settings.input.block.key1 = 'value1'
>>> myjob.settings.input.block.key2 = 'value2'
  entire line that has to be the first line of block
  second line
  key1 value1
  key2 value2

Sometimes one needs to put more instances of the same key within one block, like for example in CONSTRAINTS block in ADF. It can be done by using list of values instead of a single value:

>>> myjob.settings.input.constraints.atom = [1,5,4]
>>> myjob.settings.input.constraints.block = ['ligand', 'residue']
  atom 1
  atom 5
  atom 4
  block ligand
  block residue

Finally, in some rare cases key and value pair in the input needs to be printed in a form key=value instead of key value. When value is a string starting with the equal sign, no space is inserted between key and value:

>>> myjob.settings.input.block.key = '=value'

Sometimes a value of a key in the input file needs to be a path to some file, usually KF file with results of some previous calculation. Of course such a path can be given explicitly newjob.restart = '/home/user/science/plams.12345/oldjob/oldjob.t21', but for user’s convenience instances of SCMJob or SCMResults (or directly KFFile) can be also used. Algorithm will detect it and use an absolute path to the main KF file instead:

>>> myjob.settings.input.restart = oldjob
>>> myjob.settings.input.fragment.frag1 = fragjob
restart /home/user/science/plams.12345/oldjob/oldjob.t21
  frag1 /home/user/science/fragmentresults/somejob/somejob.t21

Molecule instance stored in job’s molecule attribute is automatically processed during the input file preparation and printed in the proper format, depending on the program. It is possible to disable that and give molecular coordinates explicitly as entries in myjob.settings.input.. Automatic molecule processing can be turned off by myjob.settings.ignore_molecule = True.

Special atoms in ADF

In ADF atomic coordinates in atoms block can be enriched with some additional information like special names of atoms (for example in case of using different isotopes) or block/fragment membership. Since usually contents of atoms block are generated automatically based on the Molecule associated with a job, this information needs to be supplied inside the given Molecule instance. Details about every atom can be adjusted separately, by modifying attributes of a particular Atom instance according to the following convention:

  • Atomic symbol is generated based on atomic number stored in atnum attribute of a corresponding Atom. Atomic number 0 corresponds to the “dummy atom” for which the symbol is empty.

  • If exists and is True, the above atomic symbol is prefixed with Gh..

  • If exists, its contents are added after the symbol. Hence setting atnum to 0 and adjusting name allows to put an arbitrary string as the atomic symbol.

  • If exists, its contents are added after atomic coordinates with f= prefix.

  • If exists, its contents are added after atomic coordinates with b= prefix.

The following example illustrates the usage of this mechanism:

>>> mol = Molecule('xyz/')
>>> mol[1].properties.ghost = True
>>> mol[2] = 'D'
>>> mol[3].properties.ghost = True
>>> mol[3] = 'T'
>>> mol[4].properties.atnum = 0
>>> mol[4] = 'J.XYZ'
>>> mol[5].properties.atnum = 0
>>> mol[5] = 'J.ASD'
>>> mol[5].properties.ghost = True
>>> mol[6].properties.adf.fragment = 'myfragment'
>>> mol[7].properties.adf.block = 'block1'
>>> mol[8].properties.adf.fragment = 'frag'
>>> mol[8].properties.adf.block = 'block2'
>>> myjob = ADFJob(molecule=mol)
      1      Gh.C       0.01247       0.02254       1.08262
      2       C.D      -0.00894      -0.01624      -0.43421
      3    Gh.H.T      -0.49334       0.93505       1.44716
      4     J.XYZ       1.05522       0.04512       1.44808
      5  Gh.J.ASD      -0.64695      -1.12346       2.54219
      6         H       0.50112      -0.91640      -0.80440 f=myfragment
      7         H       0.49999       0.86726      -0.84481 b=block1
      8         H      -1.04310      -0.02739      -0.80544 f=frag b=block2
      9         O      -0.66442      -1.15471       1.56909

Preparing runscript

Runscripts for ADF are very simple. The only adjustable option (apart from usual pre, post, shebang and stdout_redirect which are common for all single jobs) is myjob.settings.runscript.nproc, indicating the number of parallel processes to run ADF with (like with -n flag or NSCM environmental variable).


class ADFResults(job)[source]

A specialized SCMResults subclass for accessing the results of ADFJob.


Return a dictionary with all the entries from Properties section in the main KF file ($JN.t21).


Return a Molecule instance based on the Geometry section in the main KF file ($JN.t21).

For runs with multiple geometries (geometry optimization, transition state search, intrinsic reaction coordinate) this is the final geometry. In such a case, to access the initial (or any intermediate) coordinates please use get_input_molecule() or extract coordinates from section History, variables xyz 1, xyz 2 and so on. Mind the fact that all coordinates written by ADF to History section are in bohr and internal atom order:

mol = results.get_molecule(section='History', variable='xyz 1', unit='bohr', internal=True)

Return a Molecule instance with initial coordinates.

All data used by this method is taken from $JN.t21 file. The molecule attribute of the corresponding job is ignored.


Return final bond energy, expressed in unit.


Return the dipole vector, expressed in unit.

get_gradients(energy_unit='au', dist_unit='bohr')[source]

Return the cartesian gradients from the ‘Gradients_InputOrder’ field of the ‘GeoOpt’ Section in the kf-file, expressed in given units. Returned value is a numpy array with shape (nAtoms,3).

_extract_hessian(section, variable, internal_order)[source]

Extract Hessian from section/variable of the TAPE21 file. Reorder from internal to input order, if internal_order is True.


Try extracting Hessian, either analytical or numerical, whichever is present in the TAPE21 file, in the input order. Returned value is a square numpy array of size 3*nAtoms.


get_energy(unit=’au’) Return a dictionary with energy decomposition terms, expressed in unit.

The following keys are present in the returned dictionary: Electrostatic, Kinetic, Coulomb, XC. The sum of all the values is equal to the value returned by get_energy(). Note that additional contributions might be included, those are up to now: Dispersion.


Return a numpy array of vibrational frequencies, expressed in unit.


Return a dictionary with timing statistics of the job execution. Returned dictionary contains keys cpu, system and elapsed. The values are corresponding timings, expressed in seconds.


Return a list of atomic numbers, in the input order.


Get mapping from the internal atom order to the input atom order.


Recreate the input molecule for the corresponding job based on files present in the job folder. This method is used by load_external().


Recreate the input Settings instance for the corresponding job based on files present in the job folder. This method is used by load_external().

Parent abstract classes:

class SCMJob(molecule=None, name='plamsjob', settings=None, depend=None)[source]

Abstract class gathering common mechanisms for jobs with ADF Suite programs.


Initialize self. See help(type(self)) for accurate signature.


Generate the input file. This method is just a wrapper around _serialize_input().

Each instance of SCMJob or SCMResults present as a value in settings.input branch is replaced with an absolute path to the main KF file of that job.


Generate a runscript. Returned string is of the form:

$AMSBIN/name [-n nproc] < [>jobname.out]

name is taken from the class attribute _command. -n flag is added if settings.runscript.nproc exists. [>jobname.out] is used based on settings.runscript.stdout_redirect.


Check if termination status variable from General section of main KF file equals NORMAL TERMINATION.


Calculate the hash of the input file.

All instances of SCMJob or SCMResults present as values in settings.input branch are replaced with hashes of corresponding job’s inputs.


Transform all contents of setting.input branch into string with blocks, keys and values.

On the highest level alphabetic order of iteration is modified: keys occuring in attribute _top are printed first. Special values can be indicated with special argument, which should be a dictionary having types of objects as keys and functions translating these types to strings as values.

Automatic handling of molecule can be disabled with settings.ignore_molecule = True.


Process Molecule instance stored in molecule attribute and add it as relevant entries of settings.input branch. Abstract method.


Remove from settings.input all entries added by _serialize_mol(). Abstract method.

static _atom_symbol(atom)[source]

Return the atomic symbol of atom. Ensure proper formatting for ADFSuite input taking into account ghost and name entries in properties of atom.

classmethod from_inputfile(filename, heredoc_delimit='eor', **kwargs)[source]

Construct a SCMJob instance from an ADF inputfile.

If a runscript is provide than this method will attempt to extract the input file based on the heredoc delimiter (see heredoc_delimit).

static settings_to_mol(s)[source]

An abstract method for extracting molecules from input settings (see SCMJob.from_inputfile()).

class SCMResults(job)[source]

Abstract class gathering common mechanisms for results of ADF Suite programs.


Collect files present in the job folder. Use parent method from Results, then create an instance of KFFile for the main KF file and store it as _kf attribute.


Refresh the contents of files list. Use parent method from Results, then look at all attributes that are instances of KFFile and check if they point to existing files. If not, try to reinstantiate them with current job path (that can happen while loading a pickled job after the entire job folder was moved).

readkf(section, variable)[source]

Read data from section/variable of the main KF file.

The type of the returned value depends on the type of variable defined inside KF file. It can be: single int, list of ints, single float, list of floats, single boolean, list of booleans or string.


Create new KFFile instance using file filename in the job folder.

Example usage:

>>> res =
>>> tape13 = res.newkf('$JN.t13')
>>> print('Geometry', 'xyz'))

Return a dictionary with all the entries from Properties section in the main KF file.

get_molecule(section, variable, unit='bohr', internal=False, n=1)[source]

Read molecule coordinates from section/variable of the main KF file.

Returned Molecule instance is created by copying a molecule from associated SCMJob instance and updating atomic coordinates with values read from section/variable. The format in which coordinates are stored is not consistent for all programs or even for different sections of the same KF file. Sometimes coordinates are stored in bohr, sometimes in angstrom. The order of atoms can be either input order or internal order. These settings can be adjusted with unit and internal parameters. Some variables store more than one geometry, in those cases n can be used to choose the preferred one.

_get_single_value(section, variable, output_unit, native_unit='au')[source]

A small method template for all the single number “get_something()” methods extracting data from main KF file. Returned value is converted from native_unit to output_unit.


Return a list of atomic numbers, in the input order. Abstract method.


Return the absolute path to the main KF file.


Return the absolute path to the main KF file.


Check if this instance has a valid _kf attribute.

_export_attribute(attr, other)[source]

If attr is a KF file take care of a proper path. Otherwise use parent method. See Results._copy_to for details.


Obtain mapping from internal atom order to the input one. Abstract method.

to_input_order(self, data)[source]

Reorder any iterable data from the internal atom order to the input atom order. The length of data must be equal to the number of atoms, otherwise an exception is raised. Returned value is a container of the same type as data.

readarray(section, subsection, **kwargs)[source]

Read data from section/subsection of the main KF file and return as NumPy array.

All additional provided keyword arguments will be passed onto the numpy.array function.