Modeling the Solvation and Acidity of Carboxylic Acids Using an Ab Initio Neural Network Potential

A Selloni and AS Raman, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY A, 126, 7283-7290 (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.2c06252

Formic and acetic acid constitute the simplest of carboxylic acids, yet they exhibit fascinating chemistry in the condensed phase such as proton transfer and dimerization. The go to method of choice for modeling these rare events have been accurate but expensive ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. In this study, we present a deep neural network potential trained using accurate ab initio data that can be used in tandem with enhanced-sampling methods to perform an efficient exploration of the free-energy surface of aqueous solutions of weak carboxylic acids. In particular, we show that our model captures proton dissociation and provides a good estimate of the pKa, as well as the dimerization of formic and acetic acid. This provides a suitable starting point for applications in different research areas where computational efficiency coupled with the accuracy of ab initio methods is required.

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