Rate constants in spatially inhomogeneous systems

AJ Schile and DT Limmer, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 150, 191102 (2019).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5092837

We present a theory and accompanying importance sampling method for computing rate constants in spatially inhomogeneous systems. Using the relationship between rate constants and path space partition functions, we illustrate that the relative change in the rate of a rare event through space is isomorphic to the calculation of a free energy difference, albeit in a trajectory ensemble. Like equilibrium free energies, relative rate constants can be estimated by importance sampling. An extension to transition path sampling is proposed that combines biased path ensembles and weighted histogram analysis to accomplish this estimate. We show that rate constants can also be decomposed into different contributions, including relative changes in stability, barrier height, and flux. This decomposition provides a means of interpretation and insight into rare processes in complex environments. We verify these ideas with a simple model of diffusion with spatially varying diffusivity and illustrate their utility in a model of ion pair dissociation near an electrochemical interface. Published under license by AIP Publishing.

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