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Affine-response model of molecular solvation of ions: Accurate predictions of asymmetric charging free energies

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number124101
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume137
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2012
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

Two mechanisms have been proposed to drive asymmetric solvent response to a solute charge: a static potential contribution similar to the liquid-vapor potential, and a steric contribution associated with a water molecules structure and charge distribution. In this work, we use free-energy perturbation molecular-dynamics calculations in explicit water to show that these mechanisms act in complementary regimes; the large static potential (∼44kJ/mol/e) dominates asymmetric response for deeply buried charges, and the steric contribution dominates for charges near the solute-solvent interface. Therefore, both mechanisms must be included in order to fully account for asymmetric solvation in general. Our calculations suggest that the steric contribution leads to a remarkable deviation from the popular linear response model in which the reaction potential changes linearly as a function of charge. In fact, the potential varies in a piecewise-linear fashion, i.e., with different proportionality constants depending on the sign of the charge. This discrepancy is significant even when the charge is completely buried, and holds for solutes larger than single atoms. Together, these mechanisms suggest that implicit-solvent models can be improved using a combination of affine response (an offset due to the static potential) and piecewise-linear response (due to the steric contribution).