atom_style command


atom_style style args
  • style = amoeba or angle or atomic or body or bond or charge or dielectric or dipole or dpd or edpd or electron or ellipsoid or full or line or mdpd or molecular or oxdna or peri or smd or sph or sphere or bpm/sphere or spin or tdpd or tri or template or wavepacket or hybrid

    args = none for any style except the following
      body args = bstyle bstyle-args
        bstyle = style of body particles
        bstyle-args = additional arguments specific to the bstyle
                      see the Howto body doc
                      page for details
      sphere arg = 0/1 (optional) for static/dynamic particle radii
      bpm/sphere arg = 0/1 (optional) for static/dynamic particle radii
      tdpd arg = Nspecies
        Nspecies = # of chemical species
      template arg = template-ID
        template-ID = ID of molecule template specified in a separate molecule command
      hybrid args = list of one or more sub-styles, each with their args
  • accelerated styles (with same args) = angle/kk or atomic/kk or bond/kk or charge/kk or full/kk or molecular/kk or spin/kk


atom_style atomic
atom_style bond
atom_style full
atom_style body nparticle 2 10
atom_style hybrid charge bond
atom_style hybrid charge body nparticle 2 5
atom_style spin
atom_style template myMols
atom_style hybrid template twomols charge
atom_style tdpd 2


Define what style of atoms to use in a simulation. This determines what attributes are associated with the atoms. This command must be used before a simulation is setup via a read_data, read_restart, or create_box command.


Many of the atom styles discussed here are only enabled if LAMMPS was built with a specific package, as listed below in the Restrictions section.

Once a style is assigned, it cannot be changed, so use a style general enough to encompass all attributes. E.g. with style bond, angular terms cannot be used or added later to the model. It is OK to use a style more general than needed, though it may be slightly inefficient.

The choice of style affects what quantities are stored by each atom, what quantities are communicated between processors to enable forces to be computed, and what quantities are listed in the data file read by the read_data command.

These are the additional attributes of each style and the typical kinds of physical systems they are used to model. All styles store coordinates, velocities, atom IDs and types. See the read_data, create_atoms, and set commands for info on how to set these various quantities.


molecular + charge + 1/5 neighbors

AMOEBA/HIPPO polarized force fields


bonds and angles

bead-spring polymers with stiffness


only the default values

coarse-grain liquids, solids, metals


mass, inertia moments, quaternion, angular momentum

arbitrary bodies



bead-spring polymers



atomic system with charges


normx normy normz area/patch ed em epsilon curv

system with surface polarization


charge and dipole moment

system with dipolar particles


internal temperature and internal energies

DPD particles


temperature and heat capacity

eDPD particles


charge and spin and eradius

electronic force field


shape, quaternion, angular momentum

aspherical particles


molecular + charge



end points, angular velocity

rigid bodies



mDPD particles


bonds, angles, dihedrals, impropers

uncharged molecules


nucleotide polarity

coarse-grained DNA and RNA models


mass, volume

mesoscopic Peridynamic models


volume, kernel diameter, contact radius, mass

solid and fluid SPH particles


rho, esph, cv

SPH particles


diameter, mass, angular velocity

granular models


diameter, mass, angular velocity, quaternion

granular bonded particle models (BPM)


magnetic moment

system with magnetic particles


chemical concentration

tDPD particles


template index, template atom

small molecules with fixed topology


corner points, angular momentum

rigid bodies


charge, spin, eradius, etag, cs_re, cs_im



It is possible to add some attributes, such as a molecule ID, to atom styles that do not have them via the fix property/atom command. This command also allows new custom attributes consisting of extra integer or floating-point values to be added to atoms. See the fix property/atom page for examples of cases where this is useful and details on how to initialize, access, and output the custom values.

All of the above styles define point particles, except the sphere, bpm/sphere, ellipsoid, electron, peri, wavepacket, line, tri, and body styles, which define finite-size particles. See the Howto spherical page for an overview of using finite-size particle models with LAMMPS.

All of the point-particle styles assign mass to particles on a per-type basis, using the mass command, The finite-size particle styles assign mass to individual particles on a per-particle basis.

For the sphere and bpm/sphere styles, the particles are spheres and each stores a per-particle diameter and mass. If the diameter > 0.0, the particle is a finite-size sphere. If the diameter = 0.0, it is a point particle. Note that by use of the disc keyword with the fix nve/sphere, fix nvt/sphere, fix nph/sphere, fix npt/sphere commands for the sphere style, spheres can be effectively treated as 2d discs for a 2d simulation if desired. See also the set density/disc command. These styles take an optional 0 or 1 argument. A value of 0 means the radius of each sphere is constant for the duration of the simulation. A value of 1 means the radii may vary dynamically during the simulation, e.g. due to use of the fix adapt command.

For the ellipsoid style, the particles are ellipsoids and each stores a flag which indicates whether it is a finite-size ellipsoid or a point particle. If it is an ellipsoid, it also stores a shape vector with the 3 diameters of the ellipsoid and a quaternion 4-vector with its orientation.

For the dielectric style, each particle can be either a physical particle (e.g. an ion), or an interface particle representing a boundary element between two regions of different dielectric constant. For interface particles, in addition to the properties associated with atom_style full, each particle also should be assigned a normal unit vector (defined by normx, normy, normz), an area (area/patch), the difference and mean of the dielectric constants of two sides of the interface along the direction of the normal vector (ed and em), the local dielectric constant at the boundary element (epsilon), and a mean local curvature (curv). Physical particles must be assigned these values, as well, but only their local dielectric constants will be used; see documentation for associated pair styles and fixes. The distinction between the physical and interface particles is only meaningful when fix polarize commands are applied to the interface particles. This style is part of the DIELECTRIC package.

For the dipole style, a point dipole is defined for each point particle. Note that if you wish the particles to be finite-size spheres as in a Stockmayer potential for a dipolar fluid, so that the particles can rotate due to dipole-dipole interactions, then you need to use atom_style hybrid sphere dipole, which will assign both a diameter and dipole moment to each particle.

For the electron style, the particles representing electrons are 3d Gaussians with a specified position and bandwidth or uncertainty in position, which is represented by the eradius = electron size.

For the peri style, the particles are spherical and each stores a per-particle mass and volume.

The bpm/sphere style is part of the BPM package.

The oxdna style is for coarse-grained nucleotides and stores the 3’-to-5’ polarity of the nucleotide strand, which is set through the bond topology in the data file. The first (second) atom in a bond definition is understood to point towards the 3’-end (5’-end) of the strand. Note that this style is part of the CG-DNA package.

The dpd style is for dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) particles. Note that it is part of the DPD-REACT package, and is not for use with the pair_style dpd or dpd/stat commands, which can simply use atom_style atomic. Atom_style dpd extends DPD particle properties with internal temperature (dpdTheta), internal conductive energy (uCond), internal mechanical energy (uMech), and internal chemical energy (uChem).

The edpd style is for energy-conserving dissipative particle dynamics (eDPD) particles which store a temperature (edpd_temp), and heat capacity(edpd_cv).

The mdpd style is for many-body dissipative particle dynamics (mDPD) particles which store a density (rho) for considering density-dependent many-body interactions.

The tdpd style is for transport dissipative particle dynamics (tDPD) particles which store a set of chemical concentration. An integer “cc_species” is required to specify the number of chemical species involved in a tDPD system.

The sph style is for smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) particles which store a density (rho), energy (esph), and heat capacity (cv).

The smd style is for a general formulation of Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics. Both fluids and solids can be modeled. Particles store the mass and volume of an integration point, a kernel diameter used for calculating the field variables (e.g. stress and deformation) and a contact radius for calculating repulsive forces which prevent individual physical bodies from penetrating each other.

For the spin style, a magnetic spin is associated to each atom. Those spins have a norm (their magnetic moment) and a direction.

The wavepacket style is similar to electron, but the electrons may consist of several Gaussian wave packets, summed up with coefficients cs= (cs_re,cs_im). Each of the wave packets is treated as a separate particle in LAMMPS, wave packets belonging to the same electron must have identical etag values.

For the line style, the particles are idealized line segments and each stores a per-particle mass and length and orientation (i.e. the end points of the line segment).

For the tri style, the particles are planar triangles and each stores a per-particle mass and size and orientation (i.e. the corner points of the triangle).

The template style allows molecular topology (bonds,angles,etc) to be defined via a molecule template using the molecule command. The template stores one or more molecules with a single copy of the topology info (bonds,angles,etc) of each. Individual atoms only store a template index and template atom to identify which molecule and which atom-within-the-molecule they represent. Using the template style instead of the bond, angle, molecular styles can save memory for systems comprised of a large number of small molecules, all of a single type (or small number of types). See the paper by Grime and Voth, in (Grime), for examples of how this can be advantageous for large-scale coarse-grained systems. The examples/template directory has a few demo inputs and examples showing the use of the template atom style versus molecular.


When using the template style with a molecule template that contains multiple molecules, you should ensure the atom types, bond types, angle_types, etc in all the molecules are consistent. E.g. if one molecule represents H2O and another CO2, then you probably do not want each molecule file to define 2 atom types and a single bond type, because they will conflict with each other when a mixture system of H2O and CO2 molecules is defined, e.g. by the read_data command. Rather the H2O molecule should define atom types 1 and 2, and bond type 1. And the CO2 molecule should define atom types 3 and 4 (or atom types 3 and 2 if a single oxygen type is desired), and bond type 2.

For the body style, the particles are arbitrary bodies with internal attributes defined by the “style” of the bodies, which is specified by the bstyle argument. Body particles can represent complex entities, such as surface meshes of discrete points, collections of sub-particles, deformable objects, etc.

The Howto body page describes the body styles LAMMPS currently supports, and provides more details as to the kind of body particles they represent. For all styles, each body particle stores moments of inertia and a quaternion 4-vector, so that its orientation and position can be time integrated due to forces and torques.

Note that there may be additional arguments required along with the bstyle specification, in the atom_style body command. These arguments are described on the Howto body doc page.

Typically, simulations require only a single (non-hybrid) atom style. If some atoms in the simulation do not have all the properties defined by a particular style, use the simplest style that defines all the needed properties by any atom. For example, if some atoms in a simulation are charged, but others are not, use the charge style. If some atoms have bonds, but others do not, use the bond style.

The only scenario where the hybrid style is needed is if there is no single style which defines all needed properties of all atoms. For example, as mentioned above, if you want dipolar particles which will rotate due to torque, you need to use “atom_style hybrid sphere dipole”. When a hybrid style is used, atoms store and communicate the union of all quantities implied by the individual styles.

When using the hybrid style, you cannot combine the template style with another molecular style that stores bond,angle,etc info on a per-atom basis.

LAMMPS can be extended with new atom styles as well as new body styles; see the Modify doc page.

Styles with a gpu, intel, kk, omp, or opt suffix are functionally the same as the corresponding style without the suffix. They have been optimized to run faster, depending on your available hardware, as discussed on the Accelerator packages page. The accelerated styles take the same arguments and should produce the same results, except for round-off and precision issues.

These accelerated styles are part of the GPU, INTEL, KOKKOS, OPENMP, and OPT packages, respectively. They are only enabled if LAMMPS was built with those packages. See the Build package page for more info.

You can specify the accelerated styles explicitly in your input script by including their suffix, or you can use the -suffix command-line switch when you invoke LAMMPS, or you can use the suffix command in your input script.

See the Accelerator packages page for more instructions on how to use the accelerated styles effectively.


This command cannot be used after the simulation box is defined by a read_data or create_box command.

Many of the styles listed above are only enabled if LAMMPS was built with a specific package, as listed below. See the Build package page for more info.

The amoeba style is part of the AMOEBA package.

The angle, bond, full, molecular, and template styles are part of the MOLECULE package.

The line and tri styles are part of the ASPHERE package.

The body style is part of the BODY package.

The dipole style is part of the DIPOLE package.

The peri style is part of the PERI package for Peridynamics.

The oxdna style is part of the CG-DNA package for coarse-grained simulation of DNA and RNA.

The electron style is part of the EFF package for electronic force fields.

The dpd style is part of the DPD-REACT package for dissipative particle dynamics (DPD).

The edpd, mdpd, and tdpd styles are part of the DPD-MESO package for energy-conserving dissipative particle dynamics (eDPD), many-body dissipative particle dynamics (mDPD), and transport dissipative particle dynamics (tDPD), respectively.

The sph style is part of the SPH package for smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH). See this PDF guide to using SPH in LAMMPS.

The spin style is part of the SPIN package.

The wavepacket style is part of the AWPMD package for the antisymmetrized wave packet MD method.


The default atom style is atomic. If atom_style sphere is used its default argument is 0.

(Grime) Grime and Voth, to appear in J Chem Theory & Computation (2014).