Kinetically-constrained ring-polymer molecular dynamics for non-adiabatic chemistries involving solvent and donor–acceptor dynamical effects
We investigate the performance of the recently developed kinetically-constrained ring polymer molecular dynamics (KC-RPMD) method for the description of model condensed-phase electron transfer (ET) reactions in which solvent and donor–acceptor dynamics play an important role. Comparison of KC-RPMD with results from Golden-Rule rate theories and numerically exact quantum dynamics calculations demonstrates that KC-RPMD accurately captures the combination of electronic- and nuclear-dynamical effects throughout the Marcus (intermediate solvent friction) and Zusman (large solvent friction) regimes of ET. It is also demonstrated that KC-RPMD accurately describes systems in which the magnitude of the diabatic coupling depends on the position of a dynamical donor–acceptor mode. In addition to these successes, however, we present an unsurprising failure of KC-RPMD to capture the enhancement of the ET rate in the low solvent friction regime associated with nuclear coherence effects. In this analysis, we re-visit several aspects of the original KC-RPMD formulation, including the form of the kinetic constraint and the choice of the mass of the auxiliary electronic variable. In particular, we introduce a Langevin bath for the auxiliary electronic variable to correct for its unphysically low coupling with the nuclear degrees of freedom. This work demonstrates that the KC-RPMD method is well suited for the direct simulation of non-adiabatic donor–acceptor chemistries associated with many complex systems, including those for which solvent dynamics plays an important role in the reaction mechanism.