Electronic energy transfer in condensed phase studied by a polarizable QM/MM model

Carles Curutchet, Aurora Muñoz-Losa, Susanna Monti, Jacob Kongsted, Gregory D. Scholes, Benedetta Mennucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


We present a combined quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics (QM/MM) method to study electronic energy transfer (EET) in condensed phases. The method introduces a quantum mechanically based linear response (LR) scheme to describe both chromophore electronic excitations and electronic couplings, while the environment is described through a classical polarizable force field. Explicit treatment of the solvent electronic polarization is a key aspect of the model, as this allows account of solvent screening effects in the coupling. The method is tested on a model perylene diimide (PDI) dimer in water solution. We find an excellent agreement between the QM/MM method and "exact" supermolecule calculations in which the complete solute-solvent system is described at the QM level. In addition, the estimation of the electronic coupling is shown to be very sensitive to the quality of the parameters used to describe solvent polarization. Finally, we compare ensemble-averaged QM/MM results to the predictions of the PCM-LR method, which is based on a continuum dielectric description of the solvent. We find that both continuum and atomistic solvent models behave similarly in homogeneous media such as water. Our findings demonstrate the potential of the method to investigate the role of complex heterogeneous environments, e.g. proteins or nanostructured host materials, on EET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1838-1848
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 14 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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