Tailoring Parameters for QM/MM Simulations: Accurate Modeling of Adsorption and Catalysis in Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks

05 March 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulations offer an efficient way to model reactions occurring in complex environments. This study introduces a specialized set of charge and Lennard-Jones parameters tailored for electrostatically embedded QM/MM calculations, aiming to accurately model both adsorption processes and catalytic reactions in zirconium-based metal-organic frameworks (Zr-MOFs). To validate our approach, we compare adsorption energies derived from QM/MM simulations against experimental results and Monte Carlo simulation outcomes. The developed parameters showcase the ability of QM/MM simulations to represent long-range electrostatic and van der Waals interactions faithfully. This capability is evidenced by the prediction of adsorption energies with a low root mean square error of 1.1 kcal/mol across a wide range of adsorbates. The practical applicability of our QM/MM model is further illustrated through the study of glucose isomerization and epimerization reactions catalyzed by two structurally distinct Zr-MOF catalysts, UiO-66 and MOF-808. Our QM/MM calculations closely align with experimental activation energies. Importantly, the parameter set introduced here is shown to be compatible with the widely used universal force field (UFF). Moreover, we thoroughly explore how the size of the cluster model and the choice of density functional theory (DFT) methodologies influence the simulation outcomes. This work provides an accurate and computationally efficient framework for modeling complex catalytic reactions within Zr-MOFs, contributing valuable insights into their mechanistic behaviors and facilitating further advancements in this dynamic area of research.


Monte Carlo simulation
Density Functional Theory
Adsorption Energy


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