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  1. High harmonic spectra for H 2 and [Formula: see text] are simulated by solving the time-dependent Kohn–Sham equation in the presence of a strong laser field using an atom-centered Gaussian representation of the density and a complex absorbing potential. The latter serves to mitigate artifacts associated with the finite extent of the basis functions, including spurious reflection of the outgoing electronic wave packet. Interference between the outgoing and reflected waves manifests as peak broadening in the spectrum as well as the appearance of spurious high-energy peaks after the harmonic progression has terminated. We demonstrate that well-resolved spectra can be obtained through the use of an atom-centered absorbing potential. As compared to grid-based algorithms, the present approach is more readily extensible to larger molecules.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 28, 2023
  2. Modeling polaron defects is an important aspect of computational materials science, but the description of unpaired spins in density functional theory (DFT) often suffers from delocalization error. To diagnose and correct the overdelocalization of spin defects, we report an implementation of density-corrected (DC-)DFT and its analytic energy gradient. In DC-DFT, an exchange-correlation functional is evaluated using a Hartree–Fock density, thus incorporating electron correlation while avoiding self-interaction error. Results for an electron polaron in models of titania and a hole polaron in Al-doped silica demonstrate that geometry optimization with semilocal functionals drives significant structural distortion, including the elongation of several bonds, such that subsequent single-point calculations with hybrid functionals fail to afford a localized defect even in cases where geometry optimization with the hybrid functional does localize the polaron. This has significant implications for traditional workflows in computational materials science, where semilocal functionals are often used for structure relaxation. DC-DFT calculations provide a mechanism to detect situations where delocalization error is likely to affect the results.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 8, 2023
  3. The restricted active space spin–flip (RAS-SF) formalism is a particular form of single-reference configuration interaction that can describe some forms of strong correlation at a relatively low cost and which has recently been formulated for the description of charge-transfer excited states. Here, we introduce both equilibrium and nonequilibrium versions of a state-specific solvation correction for vertical transition energies computed using RAS-SF wave functions, based on the framework of a polarizable continuum model (PCM). Ground-state polarization is described using the solvent’s static dielectric constant and in the nonequilibrium solvation approach that polarization is modified upon vertical excitation using the solvent’s optical dielectric constant. Benchmark calculations are reported for well-studied models of photo-induced charge transfer, including naphthalene dimer, C 2 H 4 ⋯C 2 F 4 , pentacene dimer, and perylene diimide (PDI) dimer, several of which are important in organic photovoltaic applications. For the PDI dimer, we demonstrate that the charge-transfer character of the excited states is enhanced in the presence of a low-dielectric medium (static dielectric constant ɛ 0 = 3) as compared to a gas-phase calculation ( ɛ 0 = 1). This stabilizes mechanistic traps for singlet fission and helps to explain experimental singlet fission rates. We also examinemore »the effects of nonequilibrium solvation on charge-separated states in an intramolecular singlet fission chromophore, where we demonstrate that the energetic ordering of the states changes as a function of solvent polarity. The RAS-SF + PCM methodology that is reported here provides a framework to study charge-separated states in solution and in photovoltaic materials.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 21, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2023
  5. Soft anions exhibit surface activity at the air/water interface that can be probed using surface-sensitive vibrational spectroscopy, but the structural implications of this surface activity remain a matter of debate. Here, we examine the nature of anion–water interactions at the air/water interface using a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and quantum-mechanical energy decomposition analysis based on symmetry-adapted perturbation theory. Results are presented for a set of monovalent anions, including Cl−, Br−, I−, CN−, OCN−, SCN−, NO2−, NO3−, and ClOn− (n=1,2,3,4), several of which are archetypal examples of surface-active species. In all cases, we find that average anion–water interaction energies are systematically larger in bulk water although the difference (with respect to the same quantity computed in the interfacial environment) is well within the magnitude of the instantaneous fluctuations. Specifically for the surface-active species Br−(aq), I−(aq), ClO4−(aq), and SCN−(aq), and also for ClO−(aq), the charge-transfer (CT) energy is found to be larger at the interface than it is in bulk water, by an amount that is greater than the standard deviation of the fluctuations. The Cl−(aq) ion has a slightly larger CT energy at the interface, but NO3−(aq) does not; these two species are borderline cases where consensus is lacking regardingmore »their surface activity. However, CT stabilization amounts to <20% of the total induction energy for each of the ions considered here, and CT-free polarization energies are systematically larger in bulk water in all cases. As such, the role of these effects in the surface activity of soft anions remains unclear. This analysis complements our recent work suggesting that the short-range solvation structure around these ions is scarcely different at the air/water interface from what it is in bulk water. Together, these observations suggest that changes in first-shell hydration structure around soft anions cannot explain observed surface activities.« less
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  7. Surface-sensitive vibrational spectroscopy is a common tool for measuring molecular organization and intermolecular interactions at interfaces. Peak intensity ratios are typically used to extract molecular information from one-dimensional spectra but vibrational coupling between surfactant molecules can manifest as signal depletion in one-dimensional spectra. Through a combination of experiment and theory, we demonstrate the emergence of vibrational exciton delocalization in infrared reflection–absorption spectra of soluble and insoluble surfactants at the air/water interface. Vibrational coupling causes a significant decrease in peak intensities corresponding to C–F vibrational modes of perfluorooctanoic acid molecules. Vibrational excitons also form between arachidic acid surfactants within a compressed monolayer, manifesting as signal reduction of C–H stretching modes. Ionic composition of the aqueous phase impacts surfactant intermolecular distance, thereby modulating vibrational coupling strength between surfactants. Our results serve as a cautionary tale against employing alkyl and fluoroalkyl vibrational peak intensities as proxies for concentration, although such analysis is ubiquitous in interface science.
  8. The presence of a hemibond in the local solvation structure of the aqueous hydroxyl radical has long been debated, as its appearance in ab initio simulations based on density functional theory is sensitive to self-interaction error (favoring a two-center, three-electron hemibond) but also to finite-size effects. Simulations reported here use a mixed quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) framework in a very large periodic simulation cell, in order to avoid finite-size artifacts and to facilitate testing of various density functionals, in order to probe the effects of delocalization error. The preponderance of hemibonded structures predicted by generalized gradient approximations persists in simulations using the hybrid functionals B3LYP and PBE0, but is reduced to a minor population if the fraction of exact exchange is increased to 50%. The hemibonded population is also small in simulations employing the long-range corrected functional LRC- ω PBE. Electronic spectra are computed using time-dependent density functional theory, and from these calculations emerges a consensus picture in which hemibonded configurations play an outsized role in the absorption spectrum, even when present as a minority species. An intense 1b 2 (H 2 O) → 2pπ(˙OH) charge-transfer transition in hemibonded configurations of the radical proves to be responsible for an absorptionmore »feature at 230 nm that is strongly shifted with respect to the gas-phase absorption at 307 nm, but this intense feature is substantially diminished in aqueous geometries where the hemibond is absent. Although not yet sufficient to quantitatively establish the population of hemibonded ˙OH(aq), these simulations do suggest that its presence is revealed by the strongly shifted ultraviolet absorption spectrum of the aqueous radical.« less