 Award ID(s):
 1856050
 NSFPAR ID:
 10275510
 Date Published:
 Journal Name:
 The journal of physical chemistry
 Volume:
 124
 ISSN:
 15205207
 Page Range / eLocation ID:
 9592603
 Format(s):
 Medium: X
 Sponsoring Org:
 National Science Foundation
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The hydrated electron is of interest to both theorists and experimentalists as a paradigm solutionphase quantum system. Although the bulk of the theoretical work studying the hydrated electron is based on mixed quantum/classical (MQC) methods, recent advances in computer power have allowed several attempts to study this object using ab initio methods. The difficulty with employing ab initio methods for this system is that even with relatively inexpensive quantum chemistry methods such as density functional theory (DFT), such calculations are still limited to at most a few tens of water molecules and only a few picoseconds duration, leaving open the question as to whether the calculations are converged with respect to either system size or dynamical fluctuations. Moreover, the ab initio simulations of the hydrated electron that have been published to date have provided only limited analysis. Most works calculate the electron’s vertical detachment energy, which can be compared to experiment, and occasionally the electronic absorption spectrum is also computed. Structural features, such as pair distribution functions, are rare in the literature, with the majority of the structural analysis being simple statements that the electron resides in a cavity, which are often based only on a small number of simulation snapshots. Importantly, there has been no ab initio work examining the temperaturedependent behavior of the hydrated electron, which has not been satisfactorily explained by MQC simulations. In this work, we attempt to remedy this situation by running DFTbased ab initio simulations of the hydrated electron as a function of both box size and temperature. We show that the calculated properties of the hydrated electron are not converged even with simulation sizes up to 128 water molecules and durations of several tens of picoseconds. The simulations show significant changes in the water coordination and solvation structure with box size. Our temperaturedependent simulations predict a redshift of the absorption spectrum (computed using TDDFT with an optimally tuned rangeseparated hybrid functional) with increasing temperature, but the magnitude of the predicted redshift is larger than that observed experimentally, and the absolute position of the calculated spectra are off by over half an eV. The spectral redshift at high temperatures is accompanied by both a partial loss of structure of the electron’s central cavity and an increased radius of gyration that pushes electron density onto and beyond the first solvation shell. Overall, although ab initio simulations can provide some insights into the temperaturedependent behavior of the hydrated electron, the simulation sizes and level of quantum chemistry theory that are currently accessible are inadequate for correctly describing the experimental properties of this fascinating object.more » « less

Excess electrons in liquid acetonitrile are of particular interest because they exist in two different forms in equilibrium: they can be present as traditional solvated electrons in a cavity, and they can form some type of solvated molecular anion. Studies of small acetonitrile cluster anions in the gas phase show two isomers with distinct vertical detachment energies, and it is tempting to presume that the two gasphase cluster anion isomers are precursors of the two excess electron species present in bulk solution. In this paper, we perform DFTbased ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of acetonitrile cluster anions to understand the electronic species that are present and why they have different binding energies. Using a longrangecorrected density functional that was optimally tuned to describe acetonitrile cluster anion structures, we have theoretically explored the chemistry of (CH3CN)n¯ cluster anions with sizes n=5,7 and 10. Since the temperature of the experimental cluster anions is not known, we performed two sets of simulations that investigated how the way in which the cluster anions are prepared affects the excess electron binding motif: one set of simulations simply attached excess electrons to neutral (CH3CN)n clusters, providing little opportunity for the clusters to relax in the presence of the excess electron, while the other set allowed the cluster anions to thermally equilibrate near room temperature. We find that both sets of simulations show three distinct electron binding motifs: electrons can attach to the surface of the cluster (dipolebound) or be present as either solvated monomer anions, CH3CN¯, or as solvated molecular dimer anions, (CH3CN)2¯. All three species have higher binding energies at larger cluster sizes. Thermal equilibration strongly favors the formation of the valencebound molecular anions relative to surfacebound excess electrons, and the dimer anion becomes more stable than the monomer anion and surfacebound species as the cluster size increases. The calculated photoelectron spectra from our simulations in which there was poor thermal equilibration are in good agreement with experiment, suggesting assignment of the two experimental cluster anion isomers as the surfacebound electron and the solvated molecular dimer anion. The simulations also suggest that the shoulder seen experimentally on the lowenergy isomer's detachment peak is not part of a vibronic progression but instead results from molecular monomer anions. Nowhere in the size range that we explore do we see evidence for a nonvalence, cavitybound interiorsolvated electron, indicating that this species is likely only accessible at larger sizes with good thermal equilibration.more » « less

Abstract Reliable simulations of molecules in condensed phase require the combination of an accurate quantum mechanical method for the core region, and a realistic model to describe the interaction with the environment. Additionally, this combination should not significantly increase the computational cost of the calculation compared to the corresponding in vacuo case. In this review, we describe the combination of methods based on coupled cluster (CC) theory with polarizable classical models for the environment. We use the polarizable continuum model (PCM) of solvation to discuss the equations, but we also show how the same theoretical framework can be extended to polarizable force fields. The theory is developed within the perturbation theory energy and singles‐T density (PTES) scheme, where the environmental response is computed with the CC single excitation amplitudes as an approximation for the full one‐particle reduced density. The CC‐PTES combination provides the best compromise between accuracy and computational effort for CC calculations in condensed phase, because it includes the response of the environment to the correlation density at the same computational cost of in vacuo CC. We discuss a number of numerical applications for ground and excited state properties, based on the implementation of CC‐PTES with single and double excitations (CCSD‐PTES), which show the reliability and computational efficiency of the method in reproducing experimental or full‐CC data.
This article is characterized under:
Electronic Structure Theory > Ab Initio Electronic Structure Methods
Electronic Structure Theory > Combined QM/MM Methods
Software > Quantum Chemistry

Abstract Nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry represents a powerful tool for extracting dynamic information. Yet, obtaining links to molecular motion is challenging for many ions that relax through the quadrupolar mechanism, which is mediated by electric field gradient fluctuations and lacks a detailed microscopic description. For sodium ions in aqueous electrolytes, we combine ab initio calculations to account for electron cloud effects with classical molecular dynamics to sample longtime fluctuations, and obtain relaxation rates in good agreement with experiments over broad concentration and temperature ranges. We demonstrate that quadrupolar nuclear relaxation is sensitive to subpicosecond dynamics not captured by previous models based on water reorientation or cluster rotation. While ions affect the overall water retardation, experimental trends are mainly explained by dynamics in the first two solvation shells of sodium, which contain mostly water. This work thus paves the way to the quantitative understanding of quadrupolar relaxation in electrolyte and bioelectrolyte systems.more » « less

At room temperature, the quantum contribution to the kinetic energy of a water molecule exceeds the classical contribution by an order of magnitude. The quantum kinetic energy (QKE) of a water molecule is modulated by its local chemical environment and leads to uneven partitioning of isotopes between different phases in thermal equilibrium, which would not occur if the nuclei behaved classically. In this work, we use ab initio path integral simulations to show that QKEs of the water molecules and the equilibrium isotope fractionation ratios of the oxygen and hydrogen isotopes are sensitive probes of the hydrogen bonding structures in aqueous ionic solutions. In particular, we demonstrate how the QKE of water molecules in path integral simulations can be decomposed into translational, rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom, and use them to determine the impact of solvation on different molecular motions. By analyzing the QKEs and isotope fractionation ratios, we show how the addition of the Na + , Cl − and HPO 4 2− ions perturbs the competition between quantum effects in liquid water and impacts their local solvation structures.more » « less