A Self-Starting Method for Obtaining Analytic Potential-Energy Surfaces from ab Initio Electronic Structure Calculations Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous methods proposed for obtaining analytic potential-energy surfaces (PES) from ab initio electronic structure calculations are not self-starting. They generally require that the sampling of configuration space important in the reaction dynamics of the process being investigated be initiated by using chemical intuition or a previously developed semiempirical potential-energy surface. When the system under investigation contains four or more atoms undergoing three- and four-center reactions in addition to bond scission processes, obtaining a sufficiently converged initial sampling can be very difficult due to the extremely large volume of configuration space that is important in the reaction dynamics. It is shown that by combining direct dynamics (DD) with previously reported molecular dynamics (MD), novelty sampling (NS), and neural network (NN) methods, an analytical surface suitable for MD computations for large systems may be obtained. Application of the method to the investigation of N-O bond scission and cis-trans isomerization reactions of HONO followed by comparison of the resulting neural network potential-energy surface to one obtained by using a semiempirical potential to initiate the sampling shows that the two potential surfaces are the same within the fitting accuracy of the surfaces. It is concluded that the combination of direct dynamics, molecular dynamics, novelty sampling, and neural network fitting provides a self-starting, robust, and accurate DD/MD/NS/NN method for the execution of first-principles, ab initio, molecular dynamics studies in systems containing four or more atoms which are undergoing simultaneous two-, three-, and four-center reactions.

author list (cited authors)

  • Agrawal, P. M., Malshe, M., Narulkar, R., Raff, L. M., Hagan, M., Bukkapatnum, S., & Komanduri, R.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009 11:11 AM