Dynamics of water trapped between hydrophobic solutes

Niharendu Choudhury, B. Montgomery Pettitt

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159 Scopus citations


We describe the model dynamical behavior of the solvent between two nanoscopic hydrophobic solutes. The dynamics of the vicinal water in various sized traps is found to be significantly different from bulk behavior. We consider the dynamics at normal temperature and pressure at three intersolute distances corresponding to the three solvent separated minima in the free energy profile between the solutes with attractions. These three states correspond to one, two, and three intervening layers of water molecules. Results are obtained from a molecular dynamics simulation at constant temperature and pressure (NPT) ensemble. Translational diffusion of water molecules trapped between the two solutes has been analyzed from the velocity correlation function as well as from the mean square displacement of the water molecules. The rotational behavior has been analyzed through the reorientational dynamics of the dipole moment vector of the water molecule by calculating both first and second rank dipole-dipole correlation functions. Both the translational and reorientational mobilities of water are found to be much slower at the smaller separation and increases as the separation between solutes becomes larger. The occupation time distribution functions calculated from the trajectories also show that the relaxation is much slower for the smallest intersolute separation as compared to other wider separations. The sublinear trend in mean square displacement and the stretched exponential decay of the relaxation of dipolar correlation and occupation distribution function indicate that the dynamical behavior of water in the confined region between two large hydrophobic solutes departs from usual Brownian behavior. This behavior is reminiscent of the behavior of water in the vicinity of protein surface clefts or trapped between two domains of a protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6422-6429
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 7 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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