### Abstract

Two methods are developed to enhance the stability, efficiency, and robustness of reaction path optimization using a chain of replicas. First, distances between replicas are kept equal during path optimization via holonomic constraints. Finding a reaction path is, thus, transformed into a constrained optimization problem. This approach avoids force projections for finding minimum energy paths (MEPs), and fast-converging schemes such as quasi-Newton methods can be readily applied. Second, we define a new objective function - the total Hamiltonian - for reaction path optimization, by combining the kinetic energy potential of each replica with its potential energy function. Minimizing the total Hamiltonian of a chain determines a minimum Hamiltonian path (MHP). If the distances between replicas are kept equal and a consistent force constant is used, then the kinetic energy potentials of all replicas have the same value. The MHP in this case is the most probable isokinetic path. Our results indicate that low-temperature kinetic energy potentials (<5 K) can be used to prevent the development of kinks during path optimization and can significantly reduce the required steps of minimization by 2-3 times without causing noticeable differences between a MHP and MEP. These methods are applied to three test cases, the C_{7eq}-to-C_{ax} isomerization of an alanine dipeptide, the ^{4}C_{1}-to-^{1}C_{4} transition of an α-D-glucopyranose, and the helix-to-sheet transition of a GNNQQNY heptapeptide. By applying the methods developed in this work, convergence of reaction path optimization can be achieved for these complex transitions, involving full atomic details and a large number of replicas (>100). For the case of helix-to-sheet transition, we identify pathways whose energy barriers are consistent with experimental measurements. Further, we develop a method based on the work energy theorem to quantify the accuracy of reaction paths and to determine whether the atoms used to define a path are enough to provide quantitative estimation of energy barriers.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 2050-2061 |

Number of pages | 12 |

Journal | Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation |

Volume | 5 |

Issue number | 8 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 1 Aug 2009 |

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## Cite this

*Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation*,

*5*(8), 2050-2061. https://doi.org/10.1021/ct9001398