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Journal Articles Journal of Chemical Physics Year : 2010

A variational formulation of the polarizable continuum model


Continuum solvation models are widely used to accurately estimate solvent effects on energy, structural and spectroscopic properties of complex molecular systems. The polarizable continuum model (PCM) is one of the most versatile among the continuum models because of the variety of properties that can be computed and the diversity of methods that can be used to describe the solute from molecular mechanics (MM) to sophisticated quantum mechanical (QM) post-self-consistent field methods or even hybrid QM/MM methods. In this contribution, we present a new formulation of PCM in terms of a free energy functional whose variational parameters include the continuum polarization (represented by the apparent surface charges), the solute's atomic coordinates and--possibly--its electronic density. The problem of finding the optimized geometry of the (polarized) solute, with the corresponding self-consistent reaction field, is recast as the minimization of this free energy functional, simultaneously with respect to all its variables. The numerous potential applications of this variational formulation of PCM are discussed, including simultaneous optimization of solute's geometry and polarization charges and extended Lagrangian dynamics. In particular, we describe in details the simultaneous optimization procedure and we include several numerical examples.

Dates and versions

hal-00674585 , version 1 (27-02-2012)



Filippo Lipparini, Giovanni Scalmani, Benedetta Mennucci, Eric Cancès, Marco Caricato, et al.. A variational formulation of the polarizable continuum model. Journal of Chemical Physics, 2010, 133 (1), pp.014106. ⟨10.1063/1.3454683⟩. ⟨hal-00674585⟩
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