Surface Adsorption in Nonpolarizable Atomic Models

JK Whitmer and AA Joshi and RJ Carlton and NL Abbott and JJ de Pablo, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL THEORY AND COMPUTATION, 10, 5616-5624 (2014).

DOI: 10.1021/ct5005406

Many ionic solutions exhibit species-dependent properties, including surface tension and the salting-out of proteins. These effects may be loosely quantified in terms of the Hofmeister series, first identified in the context of protein solubility. Here, our interest is to develop atomistic models capable of capturing Hofmeister effects rigorously. Importantly, we aim to capture this dependence in computationally cheap hard ionic models, which do not exhibit dynamic polarization. To do this, we have performed an investigation detailing the effects of the water model on these properties. Though incredibly important, the role of water models in simulation of ionic solutions and biological systems is essentially unexplored. We quantify this via the ion-dependent surface attraction of the halide series (Cl, Br, I) and, in so doing, determine the relative importance of various hypothesized contributions to ionic surface free energies. Importantly, we demonstrate surface adsorption can result in hard ionic models combined with a thermodynamically accurate representation of the water molecule (TIP4Q). The effect observed in simulations of iodide is commensurate with previous calculations of the surface potential of mean force in rigid molecular dynamics and polarizable density-functional models. Our calculations are direct simulation evidence of the subtle but sensitive role of water thermodynamics in atomistic simulations.

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