On the Many-Body Nature of Intramolecular Forces in FFLUX and its Implications

Anton Konovalov, Benjamin Symons, Paul Popelier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


FFLUX is a biomolecular force field under construction, based on Quantum Chemical Topology (QCT) and machine learning (kriging), with a minimalistic and physically motivated design. A detailed analysis of the forces within the kriging models as treated in FFLUX is presented, taking as a test example a liquid water model. The energies of topological atoms are modelled as 3Natoms-6 dimensional potential energy surfaces, using atomic local frames to represent the internal degrees of freedom. As a result, the forces within the kriging models in FFLUX are inherently N-body in nature where N refers to Natoms. This provides a fuller picture that is closer to a true quantum mechanical representation of interactions between atoms. The presented computational example quantitatively showcases the non-negligible (as much as 9 %) three-body nature of bonded forces and angular forces in a water molecule. We discuss the practical impact on the pressure calculation with N-body forces and periodic boundary conditions (PBC) in molecular dynamics, as opposed to classical force fields with two-body forces. The equivalence between the PBC-related correction terms in the general virial equation is shown mathematically.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Computational Chemistry
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Oct 2020


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