Thermodynamics of Hydration from the Perspective of the Molecular Quasichemical Theory of Solutions

DN Asthagiri and ME Paulaitis and LR Pratt, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 125, 8294-8304 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c04182

The quasichemical organization of the potential distribution theorem, molecular quasichemical theory (QCT), enables practical calculations and also provides a conceptual framework for molecular hydration phenomena. QCT can be viewed from multiple perspectives: (a) as a way to regularize an illconditioned statistical thermodynamic problem; ( b) as an introduction of and emphasis on the neighborship characteristics of a solute of interest; or (c) as a way to include accurate electronic structure descriptions of near-neighbor interactions in defensible statistical thermodynamics by clearly defining neighborship clusters. The theory has been applied to solutes of a wide range of chemical complexity, ranging from ions that interact with water with both long- ranged and chemically intricate short-ranged interactions, to solutes that interact with water solely through traditional van der Waals interations, and including water itself. The solutes range in variety from monatomic ions to chemically heterogeneous macromolecules. A notable feature of QCT is that, in applying the theory to this range of solutes, the theory itself provides guidance on the necessary approximations and simplifications that can facilitate the calculations. In this Perspective, we develop these ideas and document them with examples that reveal the insights that can be extracted using the QCT formulation.

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