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Title: The influence of a solvent environment on direct non-covalent interactions between two molecules: A symmetry-adapted perturbation theory study of polarization tuning of ππ interactions by water
High-level quantum chemical computations have provided significant insight into the fundamental physical nature of non-covalent interactions. These studies have focused primarily on gas-phase computations of small van der Waals dimers; however, these interactions frequently take place in complex chemical environments, such as proteins, solutions, or solids. To better understand how the chemical environment affects non-covalent interactions, we have undertaken a quantum chemical study of π– π interactions in an aqueous solution, as exemplified by T-shaped benzene dimers surrounded by 28 or 50 explicit water molecules. We report interaction energies (IEs) using second-order Møller–Plesset perturbation theory, and we apply the intramolecular and functional-group partitioning extensions of symmetry-adapted perturbation theory (ISAPT and F-SAPT, respectively) to analyze how the solvent molecules tune the π– π interactions of the solute. For complexes containing neutral monomers, even 50 explicit waters (constituting a first and partial second solvation shell) change total SAPT IEs between the two solute molecules by only tenths of a kcal mol −1 , while significant changes of up to 3 kcal mol −1 of the electrostatic component are seen for the cationic pyridinium–benzene dimer. This difference between charged and neutral solutes is attributed to large non-additive three-body interactions within solvated ion-containing complexes. Overall, more » except for charged solutes, our quantum computations indicate that nearby solvent molecules cause very little “tuning” of the direct solute–solute interactions. This indicates that differences in binding energies between the gas phase and solution phase are primarily indirect effects of the competition between solute–solute and solute–solvent interactions. « less
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The Journal of Chemical Physics
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National Science Foundation
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