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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Nov 27;112(47):14863-8. doi: 10.1021/jp801960p.

The importance of excluded solvent volume effects in computing hydration free energies.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan, ROC.


Continuum dielectric methods such as the Born equation have been widely used to compute the electrostatic component of the solvation free energy, DeltaG(solv)(elec), because they do not need to include solvent molecules explicitly and are thus far less costly compared to molecular simulations. All of these methods can be derived from Gauss Law of Maxwell's equations, which yields an analytical solution for the solvation free energy, DeltaG(Born), when the solute is spherical. However, in Maxwell's equations, the solvent is assumed to be a structureless continuum, whereas in reality, the near-solute solvent molecules are highly structured unlike far-solute bulk solvent. Since we have recently reformulated Gauss Law of Maxwell's equations to incorporate the near-solute solvent structure by considering excluded solvent volume effects, we have used it in this work to derive an analytical solution for the hydration free energy of an ion. In contrast to continuum solvent models, which assume that the normalized induced solvent electric dipole density P(n) is constant, P(n) mimics that observed from simulations. The analytical formula for the ionic hydration free energy shows that the Born radius, which has been used as an adjustable parameter to fit experimental hydration free energies, is no longer ill defined but is related to the radius and polarizability of the water molecule, the hydration number, and the first peak position of the solute-solvent radial distribution function. The resulting DeltaG(solv)(elec) values are shown to be close to the respective experimental numbers.

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