Specific solvent effects on the electronic coupling element for electron transfer are examined using two model donor–acceptor systems (Zn2+ and Li2+) and several model “solvent” species (He, Ne, H2O, and NH3). The effects are evaluated relative to the given donor–acceptor pair without solvent present. The electronic coupling element (Hab) is found to depend strongly on the identity of the intervening solvent, with He atoms decreasing Hab, whereas H2O and NH3 significantly increase Hab. The distance dependence (essentially exponential decay) is weakly affected by a single intervening solvent atom–molecule. However, when the donor–acceptor distance increases in concert with addition of successively greater numbers of solvent species, the decay with distance of Hab is altered appreciably. Effects due to varying the orientation of molecular solvent are found, somewhat surprisingly, to be quite modest.
An ab initio study of specific solvent effects on the electronic coupling element in electron transfer reactions. Thomas M. Henderson and Robert J. Cave, J. Chem. Phys. 109, 7414 (1998), DOI:10.1063/1.477403.