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J Chem Phys. 2013 Nov 21;139(19):194504. doi: 10.1063/1.4830414.

Effects of dilute aqueous NaCl solution on caffeine aggregation.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati 781039, Assam, India.


The effect of salt concentration on association properties of caffeine molecule was investigated by employing molecular dynamics simulations in isothermal-isobaric ensemble of eight caffeine molecules in pure water and three different salt (NaCl) concentrations, at 300 K temperature and 1 atm pressure. The concentration of caffeine was taken almost at the solubility limit. With increasing salt concentration, we observe enhancement of first peak height and appearance of a second peak in the caffeine-caffeine distribution function. Furthermore, our calculated solvent accessible area values and cluster structure analyses suggest formation of higher order caffeine cluster on addition of salt. The calculated hydrogen bond properties reveal that there is a modest decrease in the average number of water-caffeine hydrogen bonds on addition of NaCl salt. Also observed are: (i) decrease in probability of salt contact ion pair as well as decrease in the solvent separated ion pair formation with increasing salt concentration, (ii) a modest second shell collapse in the water structure, and (iii) dehydration of hydrophobic atomic sites of caffeine on addition of NaCl.

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