BAR-based Multi-dimensional Nonequilibrium Pulling for Indirect Construction of QM/MM Free Energy Landscapes: Varying the QM Region
The indirect construction of the free energy landscape at Quantum mechanics (QM)/ molecular mechanics (MM) levels provides a feasible alternative to the direct QM/MM free energy simulations. The main idea under the indirect method is constructing a thermodynamic cycle, exploring the configurational space at a computationally efficient but less accurate low-level Hamiltonian, and performing an alchemical correction to obtain the thermodynamics at an accurate but computationally demanding high-level Hamiltonian. In our previous works, we developed a multi-dimensional nonequilibrium free energy simulation framework to obtain QM/MM free energy landscapes indirectly. Specifically, we considered obtaining semi-empirical QM (SQM) results by combining the MM results and the MM-to-SQM correction and obtaining the QM results by combining the SQM results and the SQM-to-QM correction. In this work, we explore the possibility of changing the region for electronic structure calculations in the multi-scale QM/MM treatment, which could also be considered as a change of the level of theory. More generally, the multi-dimensional nonequilibrium Hamiltonian-variation/perturbation framework could be used to obtain transformations between different Hamiltonians of interest, such as changing the QM theory, the size of the QM region, and the basis set simultaneously.