Universal solvation model based on solute electron density and on a continuum model of the solvent defined by the bulk dielectric constant and atomic surface tensions

Aleksandr V. Marenich, Chris Cramer, Donald G Truhlar

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We present a new continuum solvation model based on the quantum mechanical charge density of a solute molecule interacting with a continuum description of the solvent. The model is called SMD, where the "D" stands for "density" to denote that the full solute electron density is used without defining partial atomic charges. "Continuum" denotes that the solvent is not represented explicitly but rather as a dielectric medium with surface tension at the solute-solvent boundary. SMD is a universal solvation model, where "universal" denotes its applicability to any charged or uncharged solute in any solvent or liquid medium for which a few key descriptors are known (in particular, dielectric constant, refractive index, bulk surface tension, and acidity and basicity parameters). The model separates the observable solvation free energy into two main components. The first component is the bulk electrostatic contribution arising from a self-consistent reaction field treatment that involves the solution of the nonhomogeneous Poisson equation for electrostatics in terms of the integral-equation-formalism polarizable continuum model (IEF-PCM). The cavities for the bulk electrostatic calculation are defined by superpositions of nuclear-centered spheres. The second component is called the cavity-dispersion-solvent-structure term and is the contribution arising from short-range interactions between the solute and solvent molecules in the first solvation shell. This contribution is a sum of terms that are proportional (with geometry-dependent proportionality constants called atomic surface tensions) to the solvent-accessible surface areas of the individual atoms of the solute. The SMD model has been parametrized with a training set of 2821 solvation data including 112 aqueous ionic solvation free energies, 220 solvation free energies for 166 ions in acetonitrile, methanol, and dimethyl sulfoxide, 2346 solvation free energies for 318 neutral solutes in 91 solvents (90 nonaqueous organic solvents and water), and 143 transfer free energies for 93 neutral solutes between water and 15 organic solvents. The elements present in the solutes are H, C, N, O, F, Si, P, S, Cl, and Br. The SMD model employs a single set of parameters (intrinsic atomic Coulomb radii and atomic surface tension coefficients) optimized over six electronic structure methods: M05-2X/MIDI!6D, M05-2X/ 6-31G*, M05-2X/6-31+G**, M05-2X/cc-pVTZ, B3LYP/6-31G*, and HF/6-31G*. Although the SMD model has been parametrized using the IEF-PCM protocol for bulk electrostatics, it may also be employed with other algorithms for solving the nonhomogeneous Poisson equation for continuum solvation calculations in which the solute is represented by its electron density in real space. This includes, for example, the conductor-like screening algorithm. With the 6-31G* basis set, the SMD model achieves mean unsigned errors of 0.6-1.0 kcal/mol in the solvation free energies of tested neutrals and mean unsigned errors of 4 kcal/mol on average for ions with either Gaussian03 or GAMESS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6378-6396
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 7 2009


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