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  1. The transport of excess protons and hydroxide ions in water underlies numerous important chemical and biological processes. Accurately simulating the associated transport mechanisms ideally requires utilizing ab initio molecular dynamics simulations to model the bond breaking and formation involved in proton transfer and path-integral simulations to model the nuclear quantum effects relevant to light hydrogen atoms. These requirements result in a prohibitive computational cost, especially at the time and length scales needed to converge proton transport properties. Here, we present machine-learned potentials (MLPs) that can model both excess protons and hydroxide ions at the generalized gradient approximation and hybrid density functional theory levels of accuracy and use them to perform multiple nanoseconds of both classical and path-integral proton defect simulations at a fraction of the cost of the corresponding ab initio simulations. We show that the MLPs are able to reproduce ab initio trends and converge properties such as the diffusion coefficients of both excess protons and hydroxide ions. We use our multi-nanosecond simulations, which allow us to monitor large numbers of proton transfer events, to analyze the role of hypercoordination in the transport mechanism of the hydroxide ion and provide further evidence for the asymmetry in diffusion between excess protons and hydroxide ions.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 21, 2024
  2. Electron transfer at electrode interfaces to molecules in solution or at the electrode surface plays a vital role in numerous technological processes. However, treating these processes requires a unified and accurate treatment of the fermionic states of the electrode and their coupling to the molecule being oxidized or reduced in the electrochemical processes and, in turn, the way the molecular energy levels are modulated by the bosonic nuclear modes of the molecule and solvent. Here we present a physically transparent quasiclassical scheme to treat these electrochemical electron transfer processes in the presence of molecular vibrations by using an appropriately chosen mapping of the fermionic variables. We demonstrate that this approach, which is exact in the limit of non-interacting fermions in the absence of coupling to vibrations, is able to accurately capture the electron transfer dynamics from the electrode even when the process is coupled to vibrational motions in the regimes of weak coupling. This approach, thus, provides a scalable strategy to explicitly treat electron transfer from electrode interfaces in condensed-phase molecular systems.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 7, 2024
  3. The dynamics of many-body fermionic systems are important in problems ranging from catalytic reactions at electrochemical surfaces to transport through nanojunctions and offer a prime target for quantum computing applications. Here, we derive the set of conditions under which fermionic operators can be exactly replaced by bosonic operators that render the problem amenable to a large toolbox of dynamical methods while still capturing the correct dynamics of n-body operators. Importantly, our analysis offers a simple guide on how one can exploit these simple maps to calculate nonequilibrium and equilibrium single- and multi-time correlation functions essential in describing transport and spectroscopy. We use this to rigorously analyze and delineate the applicability of simple yet effective Cartesian maps that have been shown to correctly capture the correct fermionic dynamics in select models of nanoscopic transport. We illustrate our analytical results with exact simulations of the resonant level model. Our work provides new insights as to when one can leverage the simplicity of bosonic maps to simulate the dynamics of many-electron systems, especially those where an atomistic representation of nuclear interactions becomes essential. 
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  4. The ability to predict and understand complex molecular motions occurring over diverse timescales ranging from picoseconds to seconds and even hours in biological systems remains one of the largest challenges to chemical theory. Markov state models (MSMs), which provide a memoryless description of the transitions between different states of a biochemical system, have provided numerous important physically transparent insights into biological function. However, constructing these models often necessitates performing extremely long molecular simulations to converge the rates. Here, we show that by incorporating memory via the time-convolutionless generalized master equation (TCL-GME) one can build a theoretically transparent and physically intuitive memory-enriched model of biochemical processes with up to a three order of magnitude reduction in the simulation data required while also providing a higher temporal resolution. We derive the conditions under which the TCL-GME provides a more efficient means to capture slow dynamics than MSMs and rigorously prove when the two provide equally valid and efficient descriptions of the slow configurational dynamics. We further introduce a simple averaging procedure that enables our TCL-GME approach to quickly converge and accurately predict long-time dynamics even when parameterized with noisy reference data arising from short trajectories. We illustrate the advantages of the TCL-GME using alanine dipeptide, the human argonaute complex, and FiP35 WW domain. 
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  5. The third-order response lies at the heart of simulating and interpreting nonlinear spectroscopies ranging from two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) to 2D electronic (2D-ES), and 2D sum frequency generation (2D-SFG). The extra time and frequency dimensions in these spectroscopic techniques provide access to rich information on the electronic and vibrational states present, the coupling between them, and the resulting rates at which they exchange energy that are obscured in linear spectroscopy, particularly for condensed phase systems that usually contain many overlapping features. While the exact quantum expression for the third-order response is well established, it is incompatible with the methods that are practical for calculating the atomistic dynamics of large condensed phase systems. These methods, which include both classical mechanics and quantum dynamics methods that retain quantum statistical properties while obeying the symmetries of classical dynamics, such as LSC-IVR, centroid molecular dynamics, and Ring Polymer Molecular Dynamics (RPMD), naturally provide short-time approximations to the multi-time symmetrized Kubo transformed correlation function. Here, we show how the third-order response can be formulated in terms of equilibrium symmetrized Kubo transformed correlation functions. We demonstrate the utility and accuracy of our approach by showing how it can be used to obtain the third-order response of a series of model systems using both classical dynamics and RPMD. In particular, we show that this approach captures features such as anharmonically induced vertical splittings and peak shifts while providing a physically transparent framework for understanding multidimensional spectroscopies. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) are known to impact a number of features associated with chemical reactivity and physicochemical properties, particularly for light atoms and at low temperatures. In the imaginary time path integral formalism, each atom is mapped onto a “ring polymer” whose spread is related to the quantum mechanical uncertainty in the particle’s position, i.e., its thermal wavelength. A number of metrics have previously been used to investigate and characterize this spread and explain effects arising from quantum delocalization, zero-point energy, and tunneling. Many of these shape metrics consider just the instantaneous structure of the ring polymers. However, given the significant interest in methods such as centroid molecular dynamics and ring polymer molecular dynamics that link the molecular dynamics of these ring polymers to real time properties, there exists significant opportunity to exploit metrics that also allow for the study of the fluctuations of the atom delocalization in time. Here we consider the ring polymer delocalization from the perspective of computational topology, specifically persistent homology, which describes the 3-dimensional arrangement of point cloud data, (i.e. atomic positions). We employ the Betti sequence probability distribution to define the ensemble of shapes adopted by the ring polymer. The Wasserstein distances of Betti sequences adjacent in time are used to characterize fluctuations in shape, where the Fourier transform and associated principal components provides added information differentiating atoms with different NQEs based on their dynamic properties. We demonstrate this methodology on two representative systems, a glassy system consisting of two atom types with dramatically different de Broglie thermal wavelengths, and ab initio molecular dynamics simulation of an aqueous 4 M HCl solution where the H-atoms are differentiated based on their participation in proton transfer reactions. 
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  7. At room temperature, the quantum contribution to the kinetic energy of a water molecule exceeds the classical contribution by an order of magnitude. The quantum kinetic energy (QKE) of a water molecule is modulated by its local chemical environment and leads to uneven partitioning of isotopes between different phases in thermal equilibrium, which would not occur if the nuclei behaved classically. In this work, we use ab initio path integral simulations to show that QKEs of the water molecules and the equilibrium isotope fractionation ratios of the oxygen and hydrogen isotopes are sensitive probes of the hydrogen bonding structures in aqueous ionic solutions. In particular, we demonstrate how the QKE of water molecules in path integral simulations can be decomposed into translational, rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom, and use them to determine the impact of solvation on different molecular motions. By analyzing the QKEs and isotope fractionation ratios, we show how the addition of the Na + , Cl − and HPO 4 2− ions perturbs the competition between quantum effects in liquid water and impacts their local solvation structures. 
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  8. null (Ed.)