Azulene-to-naphthalene rearrangement: The Car-Parrinello metadynamics method explores various mechanisms
CHEMPHYSCHEM, 5, 1558 (2004)
We studied the thermal intramolecular and radical rearrangement of azulene to naphthalene by employing a novel metadynamics method based on Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics. We demonstrate that relatively short simulations can provide us with several possible reaction mechanisms for the rearrangement. We show that different choices of the collective coordinates can steer the reaction along different pathways, thus offering the possibility of choosing the most probable mechanism. We consider herein three intramolecular mechanisms and two radical path-ways. We found the norcaradiene pathway to be the preferable intramolecular mechanism, whereas the spiran mechanism is the favored radical route. We obtained high activation energies for all the intramolecular pathways (81.5-98.6 kcal mol(-1)), whereas the radical routes have activation energies of 24-39 kcal mol(-1). The calculations have also resulted in elementary steps and intermediates not yet considered. A few attractive features of the metadynamics method in studying chemical reactions are pointed out.