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The journal of physical chemistry. B

Structure of hydrophobic hydration of benzene and hexafluorobenzene from first principles.


PMID 17266261

Abstract

We report on the aqueous hydration of benzene and hexafluorobenzene, as obtained by carrying out extensive (>100 ps) first principles molecular dynamics simulations. Our results show that benzene and hexafluorobenzene do not behave as ordinary hydrophobic solutes, but rather present two distinct regions, one equatorial and the other axial, that exhibit different solvation properties. While in both cases the equatorial regions behave as typical hydrophobic solutes, the solvation properties of the axial regions depend strongly on the nature of the pi-water interaction. In particular, pi-hydrogen and pi-lone pair interactions are found to dominate in benzene and hexafluorobenzene, respectively, which leads to substantially different orientations of water near the two solutes. We present atomic and electronic structure results (in terms of Maximally Localized Wannier Functions) providing a microscopic description of benzene- and hexafluorobenzene-water interfaces, as well as a comparative study of the two solutes. Our results point at the importance of an accurate description of interfacial water to characterize hydration properties of apolar molecules, as these are strongly influenced by subtle charge rearrangements and dipole moment redistributions in interfacial regions.

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