A parameterization of the ReaxFF reactive FF is performed using a Monte Carlo Simulated Annealing procedure for the modeling of a proline-catalyzed aldol reaction. Emphasis is put on the accurate reproduction of the relative stabilities of several key intermediates of the reaction, as well as, on the description of the reaction path bridging these intermediates based on quantum mechanical calculations. Our training sets include new criteria based on geometry optimizations and short Molecular Dynamics simulations to ensure that the trained ReaxFF potentials adequately predict the structures of all key intermediates. The transferability of the sets of parameters obtained is assessed for various steps of the considered aldol reaction, as well as for different substrates, catalysts, and reagents. This works indeed highlights the challenge of reaching transferable parameters for several reaction steps.
- force field parameters optimization
- Monte Carlo simulated annealing
- proline-catalyzed aldol reaction