Procacci, Piero
Unbiased free energy estimates in fast nonequilibrium transformations using Gaussian mixtures
JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 142 Art. No. 154117, APR 21 2015

In this paper, we present an improved method for obtaining unbiased estimates of the free energy difference between two thermodynamic states using the work distribution measured in nonequilibrium driven experiments connecting these states. The method is based on the assumption that any observed work distribution is given by a mixture of Gaussian distributions, whose normal components are identical in either direction of the nonequilibrium process, with weights regulated by the Crooks theorem. Using the prototypical example for the driven unfolding/folding of deca-alanine, we show that the predicted behavior of the forward and reverse work distributions, assuming a combination of only two Gaussian components with Crooks derived weights, explains surprisingly well the striking asymmetry in the observed distributions at fast pulling speeds. The proposed methodology opens the way for a perfectly parallel implementation of Jarzynski-based free energy calculations in complex systems. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.


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