AM1-SM2 and PM3-SM3 parameterized SCF solvation models for free energies in aqueous solution

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Two new continuum solvation models have been presented recently, and in this paper they are explained and reviewed in detail with further examples. Solvation Model 2 (AM1-SM2) is based on the Austin Model 1 and Solvation Model 3 (PM3-SM3) on the Parameterized Model 3 semiempirical Hamiltonian. In addition to the incorporation of phosphorus parameters, both of these new models address specific deficiencies in the original Solvation Model 1 (AM1-SM1), viz., (1) more accurate account is taken of the hydrophobic effect of hydrocarbons, (2) assignment of heavy-atom surface tensions is based on the presence or absence of bonded hydrogen atoms, and (3) the treatment of specific hydration-shell water molecules is more consistent. The new models offer considerably improved performance compared to AM1-SM1 for neutral molecules and essentially equivalent performance for ions. The solute charges within the Parameterized Model 3 Hamiltonian limit the utility of PM3-SM3 for compounds containing nitrogen and possibly phosphorus. For other systems both AM1-SM2 and PM3-SM3 give realistic results, but AM1-SM2 in general outperforms PM3-SM3. Key features of the models are discussed with respect to alternative approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-666
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992


  • Free energy
  • Hydration
  • Molecular modeling
  • Solubility
  • Solvent-accessible surface area

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