T. Verstraelen

A comparison of barostats for the mechanical characterization of metal-organic frameworks

S.M.J. Rogge, L. Vanduyfhuys, A. Ghysels, M. Waroquier, T. Verstraelen, G. Maurin, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (JCTC)
11 (12), 5583-5597
2015
A1

Abstract 

In this paper, three barostat coupling schemes for pressure control, which are commonly used in molecular dynamics simulations, are critically compared to characterise the rigid MOF-5 and the flexible MIL-53(Al) metal-organic frameworks. We investigate the performance of the three barostats, the Berendsen, the Martyna-Tuckerman-Tobias-Klein (MTTK) and the Langevin coupling methods, in reproducing the cell parameters and the pressure versus volume behaviour in isothermal-isobaric simulations. A thermodynamic integration method is used to construct the free energy profiles as a function of volume at finite temperature. It is observed that the aforementioned static properties are well reproduced with the three barostats. However, for static properties depending nonlinearly on the pressure, the Berendsen barostat might give deviating results as it suppresses pressure fluctuations more drastically. Finally, dynamic properties, which are directly related to the fluctuations of the cell, such as the time to transition from the large-pore to the closed-pore phase, cannot be well reproduced by any of the coupling schemes.

QuickFF: A program for a quick and easy derivation of force fields for Metal-Organic Frameworks from ab initio input

L. Vanduyfhuys, S. Vandenbrande, T. Verstraelen, R. Schmid, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Computational Chemistry
36, 13, 1015–1027
2015
A1

Abstract 

QuickFF is a software package to derive accurate force fields for isolated and complex molecular systems in a quick and easy manner. Apart from its general applicability, the program has been designed to generate force fields for metal-organic frameworks in an automated fashion. The force field parameters for the covalent interaction are derived from ab initio data. The mathematical expression of the covalent energy is kept simple to ensure robustness and to avoid fitting deficiencies as much as possible. The user needs to produce an equilibrium structure and a Hessian matrix for one or more building units. Afterward, a force field is generated for the system using a three-step method implemented in QuickFF. The first two steps of the methodology are designed to minimize correlations among the force field parameters. In the last step, the parameters are refined by imposing the force field parameters to reproduce the ab initio Hessian matrix in Cartesian coordinate space as accurate as possible. The method is applied on a set of 1000 organic molecules to show the easiness of the software protocol. To illustrate its application to metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), QuickFF is used to determine force fields for MIL-53(Al) and MOF-5. For both materials, accurate force fields were already generated in literature but they requested a lot of manual interventions. QuickFF is a tool that can easily be used by anyone with a basic knowledge of performing ab initio calculations. As a result, accurate force fields are generated with minimal effort.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

The Influence of Ser-154, Cys-113, and the Phosphorylated Threonine Residue on the Catalytic Reaction Mechanism of Pin1

E. Vohringer-Martinez, T. Verstraelen, P.W. Ayers
Journal of Physical Chemistry B
118 (33), 9871-9880
2014
A1

Abstract 

Pin1 is an enzyme that specifically catalyzes the cis–trans isomerization of proline amide bonds in peptides that contain a phosphorylated threonine or serine residue in the position preceding proline. In the cell, the isomerization reaction is associated with cellular signaling and has been related to diseases such as Alzheimer and cancer. The catalytic mechanism by which Pin1 accelerates the isomerization reaction, however, is still unknown. In this study, we use molecular dynamics simulation in combination with the QM/MM methodology to disclose the influence of the residues Ser-154 and Cys-113 in the enzyme and the phosphorylated threonine residue in the peptide on the reaction mechanism. To account for the correct electrostatic interaction between the three residues and the reactive center, we derive atomic charges that account for the varying electrostatic field in the catalytic cavity. Different methods based on reproducing the molecular electrostatic potential or an atoms in molecules approach were investigated. Finally, the reaction mechanism is analyzed with the mean reaction force and the influence of the three residues is disclosed. Our results show that Pin1 specifically catalyzes the isomerization of the trans conformer in a jump-rope type of motion, as suggested by us and confirmed experimentally by others. This is accomplished by anchoring the threonine phosphate residue on one end of the peptide through electrostatic interactions with the basic triad of the enzyme and at the other end through specific enzyme–peptide hydrogen bonds. Cys-113 reduces the structural contribution to the activation free energy through the stabilization of the cis conformer, and Ser-154 in combination with Gln-131 assist in the isomerization reaction of the trans isomer.

Direct Computation of Parameters for Accurate Polarizable Force Fields

T. Verstraelen, S. Vandenbrande, P.W. Ayers
Journal of Chemical Physics
141, 194144
2014
A1

Abstract 

We present an improved electronic linear response model to incorporate polarization and charge-transfer effects in polarizable force fields. This model is a generalization of the Atom-Condensed Kohn-Sham DFT, approximated to second order (ACKS2): it can now be defined with any underlying variational theory (next to KS-DFT) and it can include atomic multipoles and off-center basis functions. Parameters in this model are computed efficiently as expectation values of an electronic wavefunction, obviating the need for their calibration, regularization and manual tuning. In the limit of a complete density and potential basis set in the ACKS2 model, the linear response properties of the underlying theory for a given molecular geometry are reproduced exactly. A numerical validation with a test set of 110 molecules shows that very accurate models can already be obtained with fluctuating charges and dipoles. These features greatly facilitate the development of polarizable force fields.

QuickFF: toward a generally applicable methodology to quickly derive accurate force fields for Metal-Organic Frameworks from ab initio input

L. Vanduyfhuys, S. Vandenbrande, T. Verstraelen, R. Schmid, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Computational Chemistry
2015
A1
Published while none of the authors were employed at the CMM

Metal-organic frameworks as potential shock absorbers: the case of the highly flexible MIL-53(Al)

P.G. Yot, Z. Boudene, J. Macia, D. Granier, L. Vanduyfhuys, T. Verstraelen, V. Van Speybroeck, T. Devic, C. Serre, G. Ferey, N. Stock, G. Maurin
Chemical Communications
50, 9462-9464
2014
A1

Abstract 

The mechanical energy absorption ability of the highly flexible; MIL-53(Al) MOF material was explored using a combination of; experiments and molecular simulations. A pressure-induced transition; between the large pore and the closed pore forms of this solid; was revealed to be irreversible and associated with a relatively large; energy absorption capacity. Both features make MIL-53(Al) the first; potential MOF candidate for further use as a shock absorber.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Assessing The Accuracy Of New Geminal-Based Approaches

P. Tecmer, K. Boguslawski, P.A. Johnson, P.A. Limacher, M. Chan, T. Verstraelen, P.W. Ayers
Journal of Physical Chemistry A
118 (39), 9058–9068
2014
A1

Abstract 

We present a systematic theoretical study on the dissociation of diatomic molecules and their spectroscopic constants using our recently presented geminal-based wave function ansätze. Specifically, the performance of the antisymmetric product of rank two geminals (APr2G), the antisymmetric product of 1-reference-orbital geminals (AP1roG) and its orbital-optimized variant (OO-AP1roG) are assessed against standard quantum chemistry methods. Our study indicates that these new geminal-based approaches provide a cheap, robust, and accurate alternative for the description of bond-breaking processes in closed-shell systems requiring only mean-field-like computational cost. In particular, the spectroscopic constants obtained from OO-AP1roG are in very good agreement with reference theoretical and experimental data.

Critical analysis of the accuracy of models predicting or extracting liquid structure information

M. Van Houteghem, A. Ghysels, T. Verstraelen, W. Poelmans, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Physical Chemistry B
118 (9), 2451–2470
2014
A1

Abstract 

This work aims at a critical assessment of properties predicting or extracting information on the density and structure of liquids. State-of-the-art NVT and NpT molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have been performed on five liquids: methanol, chloroform, acetonitrile, tetrahydrofuran and ethanol. These simulations allow the computation of properties based on first principles, including the equilibrium density and radial distribution functions (RDFs), characterizing the liquid structure. Refinements have been incorporated in the MD simulations by taking into account Basis Set Superposition Errors (BSSE). An extended BSSE model for an instantaneous evaluation of the BSSE corrections has been proposed, and their impact on the liquid properties has been assessed. If available, the theoretical RDFs have been compared with the experimentally derived RDFs. For some liquids significant discrepancies have been observed and a profound but critical investigation is presented to unravel the origin of these deficiencies. This discussion is focused on tetrahydrofuran where the experiment reveals some prominent peaks completely missing in any MD simulation. Experiments providing information on liquid structure consist mainly of neutron diffraction measurements offering total structure factors as the primary observables. The splitting of these factors in reciprocal space into intra- and intermolecular contributions is extensively discussed, together with their sensitivity in reproducing correct RDFs in coordinate space.

Can The Electronegativity Equalization Method Predict Spectroscopic Properties?

T. Verstraelen, P. Bultinck
Spectrochimica Acta Part A (Mol. & biomol.)
136 A, 76–80
2015
A1

Abstract 

The electronegativity equalization method is classically used as a method allowing the fast generation of atomic charges using a set of calibrated parameters and provided knowledge of the molecular structure. Recently, it has started being used for the calculation of other reactivity descriptors and for the development of polarizable and reactive force fields. For such applications, it is of interest to know whether the method, through the inclusion of the molecular geometry in the Taylor expansion of the energy, would also allow sufficiently accurate predictions of spectroscopic data. In this work, relevant quantities for IR spectroscopy are considered, namely the dipole derivatives and the Cartesian Hessian. Despite careful calibration of parameters for this specific task, it is shown that the current models yield insufficiently accurate results.

New Functionalized Metal–Organic Frameworks MIL-47-X (X = −Cl, −Br, −CH3, −CF3, −OH, −OCH3): Synthesis, Characterization, and CO2 Adsorption Properties

S. Biswas, D.E.P. Vanpoucke, T. Verstraelen, M. Vandichel, S. Couck, K. Leus, Y-Y Liu, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, J.F.M. Denayer, P. Van der Voort
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
117 (44), 22784–22796
2013
A1

Abstract 

Six new functionalized vanadium hydroxo terephthalates [VIII(OH)(BDC-X)]•n(guests) (MIL-47(VIII)-X-AS) (BDC = 1,4-benzenedicarboxylate; X = -Cl; -Br, -CH3, -CF3, -OH, -OCH3; AS = as-synthesized) along with the parent MIL-47 were synthesized under rapid microwave-assisted hydrothermal conditions (170 ºC, 30 min, 150 W). The unreacted H2BDC-X and/or occluded solvent molecules can be removed by thermal activation under vacuum leading to the empty-pore forms of the title compounds (MIL-47(VIV)-X). Except pristine MIL-47 (+III oxidation state), the vanadium atoms in all the evacuated functionalized solids stayed in +IV oxidation state. The phase purity of the compounds was ascertained by X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy, Raman, thermogravimetric (TG), and elemental analysis. The structural similarity of the filled and empty-pore forms of the functionalized compounds with the respective forms of parent MIL-47 was verified by cell parameter determination from XRPD data. TGA and temperature-dependent XRPD (TDXRPD) experiments in air atmosphere indicate high thermal stability in the range 330-385 ºC. All the thermally activated compounds exhibit significant microporosity (SLangmuir in the range 418-1104 m2 g-1), as verified by the N2 and CO2 sorption analysis. Among the six functionalized compounds, MIL-47(VIV)-OCH3 shows the highest CO2 uptake, demonstrating the determining role of functional groups on the CO2 sorption behaviour. For this compound and pristine MIL-47(VIV), Widom particle insertion simulations were performed based on ab initio calculated crystal structures. The theoretical Henry coefficients show a good agreement with the experimental values, and calculated isosurfaces for the local excess chemical potential indicate the enhanced CO2 affinity is due to two effects: (i) the interaction between the methoxy group and CO2 and (ii) the collapse of the MIL-47(VIV)-OCH3 framework.

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