chapter  6
16 Pages

- From Complexity to Simplicity: The Potential of Mean Force

The potential of mean force (PMF), sometimes called the free energy profile (or landscape) without doubt is one of the key statistical mechanical objects formolecular biophysics. It is right up there with entropy and correlation. The PMF provides a rigorousway to visualize high-dimensional data, and consequently is seen in countless papers. Even a simple molecule like butane, as discussed previously, has 36 internal degrees of freedom. If we want to know the “energy profile” appropriate to a single coordinate, we must use the PMF, as shown in Figure 6.1.