Accuracy of typical approximations in classical models of intermolecular polarization.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of the largest limitations of standard molecular-mechanics force fields is the neglect of intermolecular polarization. Several attempts to cure this problem have been made, but the results have not always been fully satisfactory. In this paper, we present a quantitative study of the fundamental approximations that underlie polarization models for classical force fields. The induced charge density of a large set of molecular dimers is compared to supermolecular calculations for a hierarchy of simplified models. We study the effect of the Pauli principle, the local inhomogeneity of the electric field, the intramolecular coupling of the polarization response, and the fact that the induced density is a continuous function. We show that standard point-polarizability models work rather well, despite their lack of all these effects, because (1) there is a systematic error cancellation between the neglect of effects of the Pauli principle and the locally inhomogeneous electric field, and (2) the lack of intramolecular coupling and the use of a dipole expansion of the induced density have only minor effects on the polarization. However, the cancellation in (1) is not perfect, and therefore polarizable force-fields could be improved if both effects are explicitly treated.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Theoretical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Article number014102
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Theoretical Chemistry (S) (011001039)

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Pär Söderhjelm, 2009, Department of Theoretical Chemistry, Lund University. 172 p.

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