American Chemical Society
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Machine Learning-Guided Approach for Studying Solvation Environments

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-23, 12:34 authored by Yasemin Basdogan, Mitchell C. Groenenboom, Ethan Henderson, Sandip De, Susan B. Rempe, John A. Keith
Molecular-level understanding and characterization of solvation environments are often needed across chemistry, biology, and engineering. Toward practical modeling of local solvation effects of any solute in any solvent, we report a static and all-quantum mechanics-based cluster-continuum approach for calculating single-ion solvation free energies. This approach uses a global optimization procedure to identify low-energy molecular clusters with different numbers of explicit solvent molecules and then employs the smooth overlap for atomic positions learning kernel to quantify the similarity between different low-energy solute environments. From these data, we use sketch maps, a nonlinear dimensionality reduction algorithm, to obtain a two-dimensional visual representation of the similarity between solute environments in differently sized microsolvated clusters. After testing this approach on different ions having charges 2+, 1+, 1–, and 2–, we find that the solvation environment around each ion can be seen to usually become more similar in hand with its calculated single-ion solvation free energy. Without needing either dynamics simulations or an a priori knowledge of local solvation structure of the ions, this approach can be used to calculate solvation free energies within 5% of experimental measurements for most cases, and it should be transferable for the study of other systems where dynamics simulations are not easily carried out.