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QM/MM Calculations for the Cl + CH3Cl SN2 Reaction in Water Using CM5 Charges and Density Functional Theory

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journal contribution
posted on 17.06.2019, 00:00 authored by Julian Tirado-Rives, William L. Jorgensen
The prototypical SN2 reaction of chloride ion with methyl chloride has been reinvestigated in aqueous solution using QM/MM methodology featuring MO6-2X/6-31+G­(d) calculations with the TIP4P water model, and partial charges were computed with the CM5 method. Though the DFT method yields excellent gas-phase energetics for the reaction, the QM/MM approach is found to yield overestimation of the activation barrier by ca. 12 kcal/mol. The discrepancy is traced to underestimate of the magnitude of the partial charges on the chlorine atoms in the transition structure. When CM1 or CM3 charges based on semiempirical wave functions are used instead, the agreement with experiment is much improved. The findings emphasize the sensitivity of the results of QM/MM calculations to the choice of QM method, the MM force field, and implementation of the QM/MM interface.