Temperature and Phase Transferable Bottom-up Coarse-Grained Models

J Chem Theory Comput. 2020 Nov 10;16(11):6823-6842. doi: 10.1021/acs.jctc.0c00832. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Despite the high fidelity of bottom-up coarse-grained (CG) approaches to recapitulate the structural correlations in atomistic simulations, the general use of bottom-up CG methods is limited because of the nontransferable nature of these CG models under different thermodynamic conditions. Because bottom-up CG potentials usually correspond to configuration-dependent free energies of the system, recent studies have focused on adjusting enthalpic or entropic contributions to account for issues with transferability. However, these approaches can require a manual adjustment of the CG interaction a priori and are usually limited to constant volume ensembles. To overcome these limitations, we construct temperature and phase transferable CG models under constant pressure by developing the ultra-coarse-graining (UCG) methodology in the mean-field limit. In the mean-field ansatz, an embedded semi-global order parameter recapitulates global changes to the system by automatically adjusting the effective CG interactions, thus bridging free energy decompositions with UCG theory. The method presented is designed to faithfully capture structural correlations under different thermodynamic conditions, using a single UCG model. Specifically, we test the applicability of the developed theory in three distinct cases: (1) different temperatures at constant pressure in liquids, (2) different temperatures across thermodynamic phases, and (3) liquid/vapor interfaces. We demonstrate that the systematic construction of both temperature and phase transferable bottom-up CG models is possible using this generalized UCG theory. Based on our findings, this approach significantly extends the transferability and applicability of the bottom-up CG theory and method.