We present a new formulation of variational transition state theory (VTST) called multi-structural VTST (MS-VTST) and the use of this to calculate the rate constant for the 1,4-hydrogen shift isomerization reaction of 1-pentyl radical and that for the reverse reaction. MS-VTST uses a multi-faceted dividing surface and provides a convenient way to include the contributions of many structures (typically conformers) of the reactant and the transition state in rate constant calculations. In this particular application, we also account for the torsional anharmonicity. We used the multi-configuration Shepard interpolation method to efficiently generate a semi-global portion of the potential energy surface from a small number of high-level electronic structure calculations using the M06 density functional in order to compute the energies and Hessians of Shepard points along a reaction path. The M06-2X density functional was used to calculate the multi-structural anharmonicity effect, including all of the structures of the reactant, product and transition state. To predict the thermal rate constant, VTST calculations were performed to obtain the canonical variational rate constant over the temperature range 200–2000 K. A transmission coefficient is calculated by the multidimensional small-curvature tunneling (SCT) approximation. The final MS-CVT/SCT thermal rate constant was determined by combining a reaction rate calculation in the single-structural harmonic oscillator approximation (including tunneling) with the multi-structural anharmonicity torsional factor. The calculated forward rate constant agrees very well with experimentally-based evaluations of the high-pressure limit for the temperature range 300–1300 K, although it is a factor of 2.5–3.0 lower than the single-structural harmonic oscillator approximation over this temperature range. We anticipate that MS-VTST will be generally useful for calculating the reaction rates of complex molecules with multiple torsions.
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