Comparison of Intermolecular Forces in Anhydrous Sorbitol and Solvent Cocrystals

Teresa M. Dierks, Timothy M. Korter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The hygroscopicity of solid sorbitol is important for its utilization as a sweetener in the pharmaceutical and food industries. The molecular foundations of sorbitol hydration characteristics are explored here using two solvated cocrystals, sorbitol-water and sorbitol-pyridine. In this work, solid-state density functional theory and terahertz time-domain spectroscopy were used to evaluate the relative stabilities of these cocrystals as compared to anhydrous sorbitol in terms of conformational and cohesive energies. The modification of the hydrogen-bonding network in crystalline sorbitol by solvent molecules gives new insight into the origins of the notable stability of sorbitol-water as compared to similar solids such as mannitol-water. In particular, the energy analysis reveals that the relative instability of the mannitol hydrate is based primarily in the lack of water-water interactions which provide considerable stabilization in the sorbitol-water crystal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5720-5727
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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