Hybrid Atomistic and Coarse-Grained Model for Surfactants in Apolar Solvents

Sampsa Vierros, Maria Sammalkorpi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Here, we develop and verify the performance of a hybrid molecular modeling approach that combines coarse-grained apolar solvent and atomistic solute or polar solvent description, for example, for description of reverse micellar systems. The coarse-grained solvent model is directly applicable to organic solvents encompassing alkane, alkene, and fatty acid ester functional groups and connects directly to both standard united-Atom GROMOS 53A6 and all-Atom CHARMM27 force fields, as well as the atomistic detail water models compatible with these force fields. The different levels of description are coupled via explicit, unscaled electrostatics, and scaled mixing rules for dispersive interactions. The hybrid model is in near-quantitative agreement with fully atomistic simulations when combined with the CHARMM27 model but underestimates modestly surfactant aggregation when using GROMOS 53A6 united-Atom description. The use of truncated electrostatics affords up to a 9-fold increase in computational speed without significant loss of accuracy. However, long-range electrostatic calculations and load imbalance at high core counts can significantly degrade the performance. We demonstrate the usability of the hybrid model by assessing the reverse micelle formation of a homologous series of nonionic glycerolipids via large-scale self-Assembly simulations. The presented model is demonstrated here for accurate description of surfactant systems in apolar solvents, with and without also polar solvent (water) in the system. The formulation can be expected to describe well also other solute species or interfaces with an apolar solvent in an apolar environment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Omega
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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