Quantum free energy profiles for molecular proton transfers

A. Lamaire, M. Cools-Ceuppens, M. Bocus, T. Verstraelen, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
19, 1, 18–24


Although many molecular dynamics simulations treat the atomic nuclei as classical particles, an adequate description of nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) is indispensable when studying proton transfer reactions. Herein, quantum free energy profiles are constructed for three typical proton transfers, which properly take NQEs into account using the path integral formalism. The computational cost of the simulations is kept tractable by deriving machine learning potentials. It is shown that the classical and quasi-classical centroid free energy profiles of the proton transfers deviate substantially from the exact quantum free energy profile.