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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Simulated solvation of organic ions: protonated methylamines in water nanodroplets. Convergence toward bulk properties and the absolute proton solvation enthalpy

Céline Houriez, Michael Meot-Ner Mautner, Michel Masella
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B 2014 June 12, 118 (23): 6222-33
24814657
We applied an alternative, purely theoretical route to estimate thermodynamical properties of organic ions in bulk solution. The method performs a large ensemble of simulations of ions solvated in water nanodroplets of different sizes, using a polarizable molecular dynamics approach. We consider protonated ammonia and methylamines, and K(+) for comparison, solvated in droplets of 50-1000 water molecules. The parameters of the model are assigned from high level quantum computations of small clusters. All the bulk phase results extrapolated from droplet simulations match, and confirm independently, the relative and absolute experiment-based ion solvation energies. Without using experiment-based parameters or assumptions, the results confirm independently the solvation enthalpy of the proton, as -270.3 ± 1.1 kcal mol(-1). The calculated relative solvation enthalpies of these ions are constant from small water clusters, where only the ionic headgroups are solvated, up to bulk solution. This agrees with experimental thermochemistry, that the relative solvation energies of alkylammonium ions by only four H2O molecules reproduce the relative bulk solvation energies, although the small clusters lack major bulk solvation factors. The droplet results also show a slow convergence of ion solvation properties toward their bulk limit, and predict that the stepwise solvation enthalpies of ion/water droplets are very close to those of pure neutral water droplets already after 50 water molecules. Both the ionic and neutral clusters approach the bulk condensation energy very gradually up to 10,000 water molecules, consistent with the macroscopic liquid drop model for pure water droplets. Compared to standard computational methods based on infinite periodic systems, our protocol represents a new purely theoretical approach to investigate the solvation properties of ions. It is applicable to the solvation of organic ions, which are pivotal in environmental, industrial, and biophysical chemistry but have been little investigated theoretically up to the present.

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