Using first-principles molecular dynamics, we study the influence of nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) and nonlocal exchange–correlation density functionals (DFs) near molecular dissociation in liquid hydrogen. NQEs strongly influence intramolecular properties, such as bond stability, and are thus an essential part of the dissociation process. Moreover, by including DFs that account for either the self-interaction error or dispersion interactions, we find a much better description of molecular dissociation and metallization than previous studies based on classical protons and/or local or semi-local DFs. We obtain excellent agreement with experimentally measured optical prop- erties along pre-compressed Hugoniots, and while we still find a first-order liquid–liquid transition at low temperatures, transition pressures are increased by more than 100 GPa.
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