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J Chem Theory Comput. 2012 Oct 9;8(10):3542-64. doi: 10.1021/ct300260q. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Calculation of Derivative Thermodynamic Hydration and Aqueous Partial Molar Properties of Ions Based on Atomistic Simulations.

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Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Institute for Molecular Modeling and Simulation, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.


The raw ionic solvation free energies calculated on the basis of atomistic (explicit-solvent) simulations are extremely sensitive to the boundary conditions and treatment of electrostatic interactions used during these simulations. However, as shown recently [Kastenholz, M. A.; Hünenberger, P. H. J. Chem. Phys.2006, 124, 224501 and Reif, M. M.; Hünenberger, P. H. J. Chem. Phys.2011, 134, 144104], the application of an appropriate correction scheme allows for a conversion of the methodology-dependent raw data into methodology-independent results. In this work, methodology-independent derivative thermodynamic hydration and aqueous partial molar properties are calculated for the Na(+) and Cl(-) ions at P° = 1 bar and T(-) = 298.15 K, based on the SPC water model and on ion-solvent Lennard-Jones interaction coefficients previously reoptimized against experimental hydration free energies. The hydration parameters considered are the hydration free energy and enthalpy. The aqueous partial molar parameters considered are the partial molar entropy, volume, heat capacity, volume-compressibility, and volume-expansivity. Two alternative calculation methods are employed to access these properties. Method I relies on the difference in average volume and energy between two aqueous systems involving the same number of water molecules, either in the absence or in the presence of the ion, along with variations of these differences corresponding to finite pressure or/and temperature changes. Method II relies on the calculation of the hydration free energy of the ion, along with variations of this free energy corresponding to finite pressure or/and temperature changes. Both methods are used considering two distinct variants in the application of the correction scheme. In variant A, the raw values from the simulations are corrected after the application of finite difference in pressure or/and temperature, based on correction terms specifically designed for derivative parameters at P° and T(-). In variant B, these raw values are corrected prior to differentiation, based on corresponding correction terms appropriate for the different simulation pressures P and temperatures T. The results corresponding to the different calculation schemes show that, except for the hydration free energy itself, accurate methodological independence and quantitative agreement with even the most reliable experimental parameters (ion-pair properties) are not yet reached. Nevertheless, approximate internal consistency and qualitative agreement with experimental results can be achieved, but only when an appropriate correction scheme is applied, along with a careful consideration of standard-state issues. In this sense, the main merit of the present study is to set a clear framework for these types of calculations and to point toward directions for future improvements, with the ultimate goal of reaching a consistent and quantitative description of single-ion hydration thermodynamics in molecular dynamics simulations.


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