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Non-equilibrium reaction and relaxation dynamics in a strongly interacting explicit solvent: F + CD3CN treated with a parallel multi-state EVB model

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Original languageEnglish
Article number044120
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number4
DatePublished - 28 Jul 2015


We describe a parallelized linear-scaling computational framework developed to implement arbitrarily large multi-state empirical valence bond (MS-EVB) calculations within CHARMM and TINKER. Forces are obtained using the Hellmann-Feynman relationship, giving continuous gradients, and good energy conservation. Utilizing multi-dimensional Gaussian coupling elements fit to explicitly correlated coupled cluster theory, we built a 64-state MS-EVB model designed to study the F + CD3CN → DF + CD2CN reaction in CD3CN solvent (recently reported in Dunning et al. [Science 347(6221), 530 (2015)]). This approach allows us to build a reactive potential energy surface whose balanced accuracy and efficiency considerably surpass what we could achieve otherwise. We ran molecular dynamics simulations to examine a range of observables which follow in the wake of the reactive event: energy deposition in the nascent reaction products, vibrational relaxation rates of excited DF in CD3CN solvent, equilibrium power spectra of DF in CD3CN, and time dependent spectral shifts associated with relaxation of the nascent DF. Many of our results are in good agreement with time-resolved experimental observations, providing evidence for the accuracy of our MS-EVB framework in treating both the solute and solute/solvent interactions. The simulations provide additional insight into the dynamics at sub-picosecond time scales that are difficult to resolve experimentally. In particular, the simulations show that (immediately following deuterium abstraction) the nascent DF finds itself in a non-equilibrium regime in two different respects: (1) it is highly vibrationally excited, with ∼23 kcal mol(-1) localized in the stretch and (2) its post-reaction solvation environment, in which it is not yet hydrogen-bonded to CD3CN solvent molecules, is intermediate between the non-interacting gas-phase limit and the solution-phase equilibrium limit. Vibrational relaxation of the nascent DF results in a spectral blue shift, while relaxation of the post-reaction solvation environment results in a red shift. These two competing effects mean that the post-reaction relaxation profile is distinct from what is observed when Franck-Condon vibrational excitation of DF occurs within a microsolvation environment initially at equilibrium. Our conclusions, along with the theoretical and parallel software framework presented in this paper, should be more broadly applicable to a range of complex reactive systems.

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Date of Acceptance: 06/07/2015

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  • jcp-df-paper-drg-v2 revised

    Rights statement: Copyright (2015) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Non-equilibrium reaction and relaxation dynamics in a strongly interacting explicit solvent: F + CD3CN treated with a parallel multi-state EVB model Glowacki, David R. and Orr-Ewing, Andrew J. and Harvey, Jeremy N., The Journal of Chemical Physics, 143, 044120 (2015), DOI: and may be found at

    Accepted author manuscript, 2 MB, PDF document


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