Limiting assumptions in molecular modeling: electrostatics
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.