Corrected potential energy functions for constrained molecular dynamics
1 Department of Computer Science, Purdue University USA
2 Institut für Mathematik, Universität Potsdam Germany
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Revised: 10 October 2011
Published online: 13 December 2011
Atomic oscillations present in classical molecular dynamics restrict the step size that can be used. Multiple time stepping schemes offer only modest improvements, and implicit integrators are costly and inaccurate. The best approach may be to actually remove the highest frequency oscillations by constraining bond lengths and bond angles, thus permitting perhaps a 4-fold increase in the step size. However, omitting degrees of freedom produces errors in statistical averages, and rigid angles do not bend for strong excluded volume forces. These difficulties can be addressed by an enhanced treatment of holonomic constrained dynamics using ideas from papers of Fixman (1974) and Reich (1995, 1999). In particular, the 1995 paper proposes the use of “flexible” constraints, and the 1999 paper uses a modified potential energy function with rigid constraints to emulate flexible constraints. Presented here is a more direct and rigorous derivation of the latter approach, together with justification for the use of constraints in molecular modeling. With rigor comes limitations, so practical compromises are proposed: simplifications of the equations and their judicious application when assumptions are violated. Included are suggestions for new approaches.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2011