Despite its importance in electron transfer reactions and radiation chemistry, there has been disagreement over the fundamental nature of the hydrated electron, such as whether or not it resides in a cavity. Mixed quantum/classical simulations of the hydrated electron give different structures depending on the pseudopotential employed, and ab initio models of computational necessity use small numbers of water molecules and/or provide insufficient statistics to compare to experimental observables. A few years ago, Kumar et al. (J. Phys. Chem. A 2015, 119, 9148) proposed a minimalist ab initio model of the hydrated electron with only a small number of explicitly treated water molecules plus a polarizable continuum model (PCM). They found that the optimized geometry had four waters arranged tetrahedrally around a central cavity, and that the calculated vertical detachment energy and radius of gyration agreed well with experiment, results that were largely independent of the level of theory employed. The model, however, is based on a fixed structure at 0 K and does not explicitly incorporate entropic contributions or the thermal fluctuations that should be associated with the roomtemperature hydrated electron. Thus, in this paper, we extend the model of Kumar et al. by running Born−Oppenheimer molecular dynamics (BOMD)more »
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Understanding the Temperature Dependence and Finite Size Effects in Ab Initio MD Simulations of the Hydrated Electron
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 more »
 Award ID(s):
 1856050
 Publication Date:
 NSFPAR ID:
 10341606
 Journal Name:
 Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
 ISSN:
 15499618
 Sponsoring Org:
 National Science Foundation
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