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Wang R , Carnevale V , Klein ML , Borguet E
First-Principles Calculation of Water pKa Using the Newly Developed SCAN Functional
J Phys Chem Lett. 2019 Dec 13 :54-59
PMID: 31834803   
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Acid/base chemistry is an intriguing topic that still constitutes a challenge for computational chemistry. While estimating the acid dissociation constant (or pKa) could shed light on many chemistry processes, especially in the fields of biochemistry and geochemistry, evaluating the relative stability between protonated and nonprotonated species is often very difficult. Indeed, a prerequisite for calculating the pKa of any molecule is an accurate description of the energetics of water dissociation. Here, we applied constrained molecular dynamics simulations, a noncanonical sampling technique, to investigate the water deprotonation process by selecting the OH distance as the reaction coordinate. The calculation is based on density functional theory and the newly developed SCAN functional, which has shown excellent performance in describing water structure. This first benchmark of SCAN on a chemical reaction shows that this functional accurately models the energetics of proton transfer reactions in an aqueous environment. After taking Coulomb long-range corrections and nuclear quantum effects into account, the estimated water pKa is only 1.0 pKa unit different from the target experimental value. Our results show that the combination of SCAN and constrained MD successfully reproduces the chemistry of water and constitutes a good framework for calculating the free energy of chemical reactions of interest.
1948-7185 Wang, Ruiyu ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1608-140X Carnevale, Vincenzo ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1918-8280 Klein, Michael L Borguet, Eric ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0593-952X Journal Article United States J Phys Chem Lett. 2019 Dec 13:54-59. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.9b02913.