Generating Converged Accurate Free Energy Surfaces for Chemical Reactions with a Force-Matched Semiempirical Model Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/9233-4476-8665-4622-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2018


  • We demonstrate the capability of creating robust density functional tight binding (DFTB) models for chemical reactivity in prebiotic mixtures through force matching to short time scale quantum free energy estimates. Molecular dynamics using density functional theory (DFT) is a highly accurate approach to generate free energy surfaces for chemical reactions, but the extreme computational cost often limits the time scales and range of thermodynamic states that can feasibly be studied. In contrast, DFTB is a semiempirical quantum method that affords up to a thousandfold reduction in cost and can recover DFT-level accuracy. Here, we show that a force-matched DFTB model for aqueous glycine condensation reactions yields free energy surfaces that are consistent with experimental observations of reaction energetics. Convergence analysis reveals that multiple nanoseconds of combined trajectory are needed to reach a steady-fluctuating free energy estimate for glycine condensation. Predictive accuracy of force-matched DFTB is demonstrated by direct comparison to DFT, with the two approaches yielding surfaces with large regions that differ by only a few kcal mol–1.


  • 14


  • 4