Limiting assumptions in molecular modeling: Electrostatics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Molecular mechanics attempts to represent intermolecular interactions in terms of classical physics. Initial efforts assumed a point charge located at the atom center and coulombic interactions. It is been recognized over multiple decades that simply representing electrostatics with a charge on each atom failed to reproduce the electrostatic potential surrounding a molecule as estimated by quantum mechanics. Molecular orbitals are not spherically symmetrical, an implicit assumption of monopole electrostatics. This perspective reviews recent evidence that requires use of multipole electrostatics and polarizability in molecular modeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


  • Affinity prediction
  • Dipole
  • Electrostatics
  • Multipole
  • Polarizability
  • Quadrupole
  • Structure-based drug design

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