The issue of multiple proton transfer (PT) reactions in solution is addressed by performing molecular dynamics simulations for a formic acid dimer embedded in a water cluster. The reactant species is treated quantum mechanically, within a density functional approach, while the solvent is represented by a classical model. By constraining different distances within the dimer we analyze the PT process in a variety of situations representative of more complex environments. Free energy profiles are presented, and analyzed in terms of typical solvated configurations extracted from the simulations. A decrease in the PT barrier height upon solvation is rationalized in terms of a transition state which is more polarized than the stable states. The dynamics of the double PT process is studied in a low-barrier case and correlated with solvent polarization fluctuations. Cooperative effects in the motion of the two protons are observed in two different situations: when the solvent polarization does not favor the transfer of one of the two protons and when the motion of the two protons is not synchronized. This body of observations is correlated with local structural and dynamical properties of the solvent in the vicinity of the reactant. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0021-9606(00)51121-0].
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics