On the mechanism of hydrophobic association of nanoscopic solutes

Niharendu Choudhury, B. Montgomery Pettitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


The hydration behavior of two planar nanoscopic hydrophobic solutes in liquid water at normal temperature and pressure is investigated by calculating the potential of mean force between them at constant pressure as a function of the solute-solvent interaction potential. The importance of the effect of weak attractive interactions between the solute atoms and the solvent on the hydration behavior is clearly demonstrated. We focus on the underlying mechanism behind the contrasting results obtained in various recent experimental and computational studies on water near hydrophobic solutes. The length scale where crossover from a solvent separated state to the contact pair state occurs is shown to depend on the solute sizes as well as on details of the solute-solvent interaction. We find the mechanism for attractive mean forces between the plates is very different depending on the nature of the solute-solvent interaction which has implications for the mechanism of the hydrophobic effect for biomolecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3556-3567
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 16 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'On the mechanism of hydrophobic association of nanoscopic solutes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this