This paper describes and illustrates a way to construct multidimensional representations of reactive potential energy surfaces (PESs) by a multiconfiguration Shepard interpolation (MCSI) method based only on gradient information, that is, without using any Hessian information from electronic structure calculations. MCSI, which is called multiconfiguration molecular mechanics (MCMM) in previous articles, is a semiautomated method designed for constructing full-dimensional PESs for subsequent dynamics calculations (classical trajectories, full quantum dynamics, or variational transition state theory with multidimensional tunneling). The MCSI method is based on Shepard interpolation of Taylor series expansions of the coupling term of a 2×2 electronically diabatic Hamiltonian matrix with the diagonal elements representing nonreactive analytical PESs for reactants and products. In contrast to the previously developed method, these expansions are truncated in the present version at the first order, and, therefore, no input of electronic structure Hessians is required. The accuracy of the interpolated energies is evaluated for two test reactions, namely, the reaction OH+ H2 → H2 O+H and the hydrogen atom abstraction from a model of α -tocopherol by methyl radical. The latter reaction involves 38 atoms and a 108-dimensional PES. The mean unsigned errors averaged over a wide range of representative nuclear configurations (corresponding to an energy range of 19.5 kcal/mol in the former case and 32 kcal/mol in the latter) are found to be within 1 kcal/mol for both reactions, based on 13 gradients in one case and 11 in the other. The gradient-based MCMM method can be applied for efficient representations of multidimensional PESs in cases where analytical electronic structure Hessians are too expensive or unavailable, and it provides new opportunities to employ high-level electronic structure calculations for dynamics at an affordable cost.
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This work was supported in part by the NSF under Grant Nos. CHE07-04974 and CHE09-56776.