Plumbing Potentials for Molecules with up to Tens of Atoms: How to Find Saddle Points and Fix Leaky Holes

Ankit Pandey, Bill Poirier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Potential energy surfaces (PESs) play an indispensable role in molecular dynamics but are notoriously difficult to flesh out properly in large-dimensional spaces. In particular, the undetected presence of PES holes, i.e., unphysical saddle points beyond which the potential energy drops arbitrarily, can have devastating effects on both classical and quantum dynamics calculations. In this study, the Crystal algorithm is developed as a tool for efficiently and accurately finding PES holes, as well as legitimate saddle points, even in very large-dimensional configuration spaces. The approach is applied to three large-dimensional PESs for molecular systems of current interest: Uracil, naphthalene, and formic acid dimer. Low-lying PES holes are discovered and located for the first two systems-including naphthalene, for which no holes were previously suspected, to the best of our knowledge. Likewise, the double-well, double-proton-transfer isomerization saddle point for formic acid dimer is also located.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6468-6474
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Volume11
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 6 2020

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