# PES scan¶

The PES scan task in AMS allows users to scan the potential energy surface of a system along one or multiple degrees of freedom, while relaxing all other degrees of freedom. If only one coordinate is scanned, this kind of calculation is usually just called a linear transit. However, since AMS allows scanning of multiple coordinates, and linear transit is just a special case of such a calculation, the task is always called a PES scan in AMS.

See also

Examples and the PES scan and transition state search tutorial

The PES scan task is enabled by selecting it with the `Task`

keyword:

```
Task PESScan
```

The `PESScan`

block configures all details of the scan:

```
PESScan
CalcPropertiesAtPESPoints [True | False]
FillUnconvergedGaps [True | False]
ScanCoordinate
nPoints integer
Coordinate integer [x|y|z] (float){2}
Distance (integer){2} (float){2}
Angle (integer){3} (float){2}
Dihedral (integer){4} (float){2}
End
End
```

The `PESScan`

block needs to contain at least one `ScanCoordinate`

block
specifying which coordinate to scan, and how many points (keyword `nPoints`

)
to sample along this coordinate. By default, 10 points are sampled along each
scanned coordinate (including the start and end point of the scan). The
coordinate descriptors are very similar to the constraint
descriptors in the `Constraints`

block used by the geometry
optimization task, but are followed by two values delimiting the start and end
of the coordinates, instead of just a single value:

`Coordinate atomIdx [x|y|z] startValue endValue`

- Moves the atom with index
`atomIdx`

(following the order in the`System`

block) along the a cartesian coordinate (`x`

,`y`

or`z`

), starting at`startValue`

and ending at`endValue`

(given in Angstrom). `Distance atomIdx1 atomIdx2 startDist endDist`

- Scans the distance between the atoms with index
`atomIdx1`

and`atomIdx2`

, starting from`startDist`

and ending at`endDist`

, both given in Angstrom. `Angle atomIdx1 atomIdx2 atomIdx3 startAngle endAngle`

- Scans the angle (1)–(2)–(3) between the atoms with indices
`atomIdx1-3`

, as given by their order in the`System%Atoms`

block. The scanned angle starts at`startAngle`

and ends at`endAngle`

, given in degrees. `Dihedral atomIdx1 atomIdx2 atomIdx3 atomIdx4 startAngle endAngle`

- Scans the dihedral angle (1)–(2)–(3)–(4) between the atoms with indices
`atomIdx1-4`

, as given by their order in the`System%Atoms`

block. The scanned dihedral starts at`startAngle`

and ends at`endAngle`

, given in degrees.

Note that multiple of these coordinate descriptors can be combined within a
single `ScanCoordinate`

block. This combines the individual coordinates into
one compound coordinate, i.e. all coordinates will transit together through
their respective ranges. In this way the symmetric stretch in water could be
scanned by specifying the following single `ScanCoordinate`

block (assuming
that the oxygen atom is the first in the `System%Atoms`

block):

```
ScanCoordinate
Distance 1 2 0.8 1.1
Distance 1 3 0.8 1.1
End
```

A multidimensional PES scan can be performed by specifying multiple
`ScanCoordinate`

blocks in the input. To scan the space spanned by the bending
and symmetric stretch modes in water, one would use the following scan
coordinates:

```
ScanCoordinate
Distance 1 2 0.8 1.1
Distance 1 3 0.8 1.1
End
ScanCoordinate
Angle 2 1 3 90 130
End
```

In principle an arbitrary number of `ScanCoordinate`

blocks can be combined to
specify the scanned configuration space. However, the total number of sample
points is the product of the number of points along all coordinates, and hence
grows quickly with the number of dimensions. Furthermore, only 1D (linear
transit) and 2D PES scans can be visualized in the GUI. We therefore suggest
sticking with <=2 dimensional PES scans. (Note that it is possible to constrain
additional degrees of freedom through the `Constraints`

block. This could be
used to sample a few points along a third dimension “manually”, while still being
able to see the surfaces in the GUI.)

By default the engine result files for the individual PES points are not saved
on disk, as this can easily lead to huge amounts of data to be stored. This
behaviour can be changed with the `PESScan%CalcPropertiesAtPESPoints`

keyword:

`PESScan`

`CalcPropertiesAtPESPoints`

Type: Bool Default value: False Description: Whether to perform an additional calculation with properties on all the sampled points of the PES. If this option is enabled AMS will produce a separate engine output file for every sampled PES point.

Note that this performs a full single point calculation on every sampled PES
point, including the calculation of any PES point
properties selected in `Properties`

block.

## Troubleshooting¶

Technically all PES scan calculations are conducted as a series of geometry optimizations with constraints for the scanned coordinates, where the value of the constraint varies slowly through the scanned range. In this way every sampled point on the potential energy surface corresponds to a particular set of constraints. As with any geometry optimization, it can happen that an optimization towards a particular point on the potential energy surface does not converge. This is the most common problem encountered during PES scan calculations.

Since PES scans are implemented as a series of geometry optimizations, they are
influenced by the settings used for the geometry optimizer, e.g. its convergence
thresholds and the maximum number of steps before an optimization is considered
to have failed. The optimizer is configured in the `GeometryOptimization`

block, see the page on geometry optimization in the
AMS manual. Note that PES scans always use the Quasi-Newton
optimizer.

While tweaking the geometry optimizer’s settings can sometimes help with convergence problems, these problems can also be easily caused by errors in the user input.

A very common problem is that the geometry in the input, i.e. the `System`

block, is incompatible with the starting values of the scanned coordinates. This
would for example be the case if one wants to scan a dihedral angle from 0 to 90
degrees, but the actual angle on the input geometry is close to 90 degrees. In
this case it would be better to flip the scanned range from 90 to 0 degrees, so
that the input geometry already close to the first sampled point on the PES.
Otherwise the optimization for the first point has to cross a very long distance
on the PES, making convergence much harder. AMS automatically detects this and
prints a warning. We generally advise preparing the input geometry for a PES
scan by first running a geometry optimization with constraints set to lower
bound of the scanned coordinate intervals.

For multidimensional PES scans the order in which the PES points are visited
depends on the order in which the scanned coordinates are specified, i.e. the
order of the `ScanCoordinate`

blocks in the input. Generally, the order in
which the PES points are visited is such that the coordinate which was specified
in the first `ScanCoordinate`

block varies **slowest**. This is illustrated in
the following figure:

Here the scan starts at point `1(1,1)`

at the bottom left corner of the PES
and first moves along the entire range of the 2nd scan coordinate, before taking
a step along the 1st coordinate to point `6(2,1)`

. The same PES points could
be visited in a different order (and under different names) if the order of the
two `ScanCoordinate`

blocks is reversed in the AMS input:

Depending on the shape of the scanned potential energy surface a particular order of visiting the PES points might be easier or harder for the optimizer, and convergence problems can sometimes be fixed by simply changing the order of the scanned coordinates. In the example above, it might be that scanning along the “vertical” direction is “harder” than scanning along the “horizontal” direction. In this case one should use the scan order from the first picture, which has only three “vertical” steps (whereas the other scan order has 15).

Note that AMS has a little safe-guard built in to help with PES scan convergence
issues: If the optimization towards a particular PES point did not succeed in
the initial attempt, AMS will later try again, but starting from a different
(converged) point close to unconverged one. This “PES gap filling” happens at
the very end of the calculation, after the initial scan has been completed. This
gap filling step is enabled by default, but can be controlled with the
`PESScan%FillUnconvergedGaps`

keyword:

`PESScan`

`FillUnconvergedGaps`

Type: Bool Default value: True Description: After the initial pass over the PES, restart the unconverged points from converged neighbouring points.