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Title: Toward a microscopic model of light absorbing dissolved organic compounds in aqueous environments: theoretical and experimental study
Water systems often contain complex macromolecular systems that absorb light. In marine environments, these light absorbing components are often at the air–water interface and can participate in the chemistry of the atmosphere in ways that are poorly understood. Understanding the photochemistry and photophysics of these systems represents a major challenge since their composition and structures are not unique. In this study, we present a successful microscopic model of this light absorbing macromolecular species termed “marine derived chromophoric dissolved organic matter” or “m-CDOM” in water. The approach taken involves molecular dynamics simulations in the ground state using on the fly Density Functional Tight-Binding (DFTB) electronic structure theory; Time Dependent DFTB (TD-DFTB) calculations of excited states, and experimental measurements of the optical absorption spectra in aqueous solution. The theoretical hydrated model shows key features seen in the experimental data for a collected m-CDOM sample. As will be discussed, insights from the model are: (i) the low-energy A-band (at 410 nm) is due to the carbon chains combined with the diol- and the oxy-groups present in the structure; (ii) the weak B-band (at 320–360 nm) appears due to the contribution of the ionized speciated form of m-CDOM; and (iii) the higher-energy C-band (at 280 nm) is due to the two fused ring system. Thus, this is a two-speciated formed model. Although a relatively simple system, these calculations represent an important step in understanding light absorbing compounds found in nature and the search for other microscopic models of related materials remains of major interest.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
10487 to 10497
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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