A Method for Accurately Predicting Solvation Structure

20 November 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Accurately predicting the molecular structure of solutions is a fundamental scientific challenge. Using quantum mechanical density functional theory (DFT) to make these predictions is hindered by significant variation depending on which DFT functional is used. Here, we present a simple metric that can determine the reliability of a DFT functional for predicting solvation structure. We then show that including a simple interaction term to correct this metric leads to quantitative agreement with experimental measurements of liquid structure. We demonstrate the utility of this method by using it to accurately describe the hydration structure around the Na+ and K+ ions as well as the structural properties of pure water with a computationally cheap functional.


Electrolyte solutions
Ion hydration

Supplementary materials



Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.