Reliable estimation of the driving force for photoinduced electron transfer between neutral reactants is of utmost importance for most practical applications of these reactions. The driving force is usually calculated from the Weller equation, which contains a Coulomb term, C, whose magnitude in polar solvents is debated. We have performed umbrella sampling molecular dynamics simulations to determine C from the potentials of mean force between neutral and ionic donor/acceptor pairs of different sizes in solvents of varying polarity. According to the simulations, C in polar solvents is a factor of 2 more negative than typically calculated according to the Weller equation. Use of the π-stack contact distance in the Weller equation instead of the van der Waals radius recovers the correct value of C, but this is mostly fortuitous due to the compensating effects of overestimating the dielectric screening at contact and neglecting both charge dilution and desolvation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry