Exploring Chemical Space Using Ab Initio Hyperreactor Dynamics


Alexandra Stan-Bernhardt, Liubov Glinkina, Andreas Hulm, and Christian Ochsenfeld

ACS Cent. Sci., 10, 2, 302–314, 2024


In recent years, first-principles exploration of chemical reaction space has provided valuable insights into intricate reaction networks. Here, we introduce ab initio hyperreactor dynamics, which enables rapid screening of the accessible chemical space from a given set of initial molecular species, predicting new synthetic routes that can potentially guide subsequent experimental studies. For this purpose, different hyperdynamics derived bias potentials are applied along with pressure-inducing spherical confinement of the molecular system in ab initio molecular dynamics simulations to efficiently enhance reactivity under mild conditions. To showcase the advantages and flexibility of the hyperreactor approach, we present a systematic study of the method’s parameters on a HCN toy model and apply it to a recently introduced experimental model for the prebiotic formation of glycinal and acetamide in interstellar ices, which yields results in line with experimental findings. In addition, we show how the developed framework enables the study of complicated transitions like the first step of a nonenzymatic DNA nucleoside synthesis in an aqueous environment, where the molecular fragmentation problem of earlier nanoreactor approaches is avoided.