Energetics and exchange of xenon and water in a prototypic cryptophane-A biosensor structure†
A microscopic description of the energetics and dynamics of xenon NMR biosensors can be experimentally difficult to achieve. We conduct molecular dynamics and metadynamics simulations of a prototypical Xe@cryptophane-A biosensor in an explicit water solvent. We compute the non-covalent Xe binding energy, identify the complexation mechanism of Xe, and calculate the exchange dynamics of water molecules between the solution and the host. Three distinct, hitherto unreported Xe exchange processes are identified, and water molecules initialize each one. The obtained binding energies support the existing literature. The residence times and energetics of water guests are reported. An empty host does not remain empty, but is occupied by water. The results contribute to the understanding and development of Xe biosensors based on cryptophane derivatives and alternative host structures.