Solvated electron


2009, Dubrovnik


Ab initio molecular dynamics study of solvated electrons in methanol clusters
L Mones, G Pohl and L Turi
2018, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 20 (45), 28741-28750, manuscript
Abstract: We performed a series of ab initio molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the physical properties of small methanol cluster anions, [(CH3OH)n]−, (n = 8–32). An excess electron was attached to neutral clusters that were prepared to accommodate the electron in interior cavity states or surface bound states. The computed initial binding energies of the electrons to these clusters indicate appealing similarity to the experimentally observed vertical detachment energies. The tendency of the interior state clusters parallels that of the clusters with strong electron binding in the experiments, while the simulated unrelaxed surface state anions are similar to the observed weakly bound species. This assignment is consistent with a previous identification based on hybrid quantum-classical simulations. The time evolution of the cluster anions suggests that interior state electrons slowly move to and relax on the surface, in excess electronic states that appear significantly more stable than the experimentally assigned putative surface states. Based on this result we predict the existence of relaxed surface state isomers of small methanol cluster anions. Due to the kinetic metastability of the experimentally found weakly bound species, we anticipate a serious technical challenge to prepare and identify small methanol cluster anions with relaxed surface states. These more strongly binding surface states are stabilized by dangling hydroxyl hydrogen atoms pointing to the excess electron's charge distribution. In addition, methyl hydrogens also appear to contribute to the stability of these states. During its transition to the surface, the interior excess electron maintains its initial solvent cavity. No signs of non-cavity interior states are observed in the present first principles ab initio molecular dynamics simulations.

Excess electrons in methanol clusters: Beyond the one-electron picture
G Pohl, L Mones and L Turi
2016, The Journal of Chemical Physics 145 (16), 164313, manuscript
Abstract: We performed a series of comparative quantum chemical calculations on various size negatively charged methanol clusters, (CH3OH)−n. The clusters are examined in their optimized geometries (n = 2–4), and in geometries taken from mixed quantum-classical molecular dynamics simulations at finite temperature (n = 2–128). These latter structures model potential electron binding sites in methanol clusters and in bulk methanol. In particular, we compute the vertical detachment energy (VDE) of an excess electron from increasing size methanol cluster anions using quantum chemical computations at various levels of theory including a one-electron pseudopotential model, several density functional theory (DFT) based methods, MP2 and coupled-cluster CCSD(T) calculations. The results suggest that at least four methanol molecules are needed to bind an excess electron on a hydrogen bonded methanol chain in a dipole bound state. Larger methanol clusters are able to form stronger interactions with an excess electron. The two simulated excess electron binding motifs in methanol clusters, interior and surface states, correlate well with distinct, experimentally found VDE tendencies with size. Interior states in a solvent cavity are stabilized significantly stronger than electron states on cluster surfaces. Although we find that all the examined quantum chemistry methods more or less overestimate the strength of the experimental excess electron stabilization, MP2, LC-BLYP, and BHandHLYP methods with diffuse basis sets provide a significantly better estimate of the VDE than traditional DFT methods (BLYP, B3LYP, X3LYP, PBE0). A comparison to the better performing many electron methods indicates that the examined one-electron pseudopotential can be reasonably used in simulations for systems of larger size.

Quantum-classical simulation of electron localization in negatively charged methanol clusters
L Mones, PJ Rossky and L Turi
2011, The Journal of chemical physics 135 (8), 084501, manuscript
Abstract: A series of quantum molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to investigate the energetic, structural, dynamic, and spectroscopic properties of methanol cluster anions, [(CH3OH)n]−, (n = 50–500). Consistent with the inference from photo-electron imaging experiments, we find two main localization modes of the excess electron in equilibrated methanol clusters at ∼200 K. The two different localization patterns have strikingly different physical properties, consistent with experimental observations, and are manifest in comparable cluster sizes to those observed. Smaller clusters (n ≤ 128) tend to localize the electron in very weakly bound, diffuse electronic states on the surface of the cluster, while in larger ones the electron is stabilized in solvent cavities, in compact interior-bound states. The interior states exhibit properties that largely resemble and smoothly extrapolate to those simulated for a solvated electron in bulk methanol. The surface electronic states of methanol cluster anions are significantly more weakly bound than the surface states of the anionic water clusters. The key source of the difference is the lack of stabilizing free hydroxyl groups on a relaxed methanol cluster surface. We also provide a mechanistic picture that illustrates the essential role of the interactions of the excess electron with the hydroxyl groups in the dynamic process of the transition of the electron from surface-bound states to interior-bound states.

Analysis of localization sites for an excess electron in neutral methanol clusters using approximate pseudopotential quantum-mechanical calculations
L Mones, PJ Rossky and L Turi
2010, The Journal of chemical physics 133 (14), 144510, manuscript
Abstract: We have used a recently developed electron-methanol molecule pseudopotential in approximate quantum mechanical calculations to evaluate and statistically analyze the physical properties of an excess electron in the field of equilibrated neutral methanol clusters ((CH3OH)𝑛, 𝑛=50–500). The methanol clusters were generated in classical molecular dynamics simulations at nominal 100 and 200 K temperatures. Topological analysis of the neutral clusters indicates that methyl groups cover the surface of the clusters almost exclusively, while the associated hydroxyl groups point inside. Since the initial neutral clusters are lacking polarity on the surface and compact inside, the excess electron can barely attach to these structures. Nevertheless, most of the investigated cluster configurations do support weakly stabilized cluster anion states. We find that similarly to water clusters, the pre-existing instantaneous dipole moment of the neutral clusters binds the electron. The localizing electrons occupy diffuse, weakly bound surface states that largely engulf the cluster although their centers are located outside the cluster molecular frame. The initial localization of the excess electron is reflected in its larger radius compared to water due to the lack of free OH hydrogens on the cluster surface. The stabilization of the excess electron increases, while the radius decreases monotonically as the clusters grow in size. Stable, interior bound states of the excess electron are not observed to form neither in finite size methanol clusters nor in the equilibrium bulk.

A new electron-methanol molecule pseudopotential and its application for the solvated electron in methanol
L Mones and L Turi
2010, The Journal of chemical physics 132 (15), 154507, manuscript
Abstract: A new electron-methanol molecule pseudopotential is developed and tested in the present paper. The formal development of the potential is based on quantum mechanical calculations on the electron-methanol molecule model in the static exchange approximation. The computational model includes a steep confining potential that keeps the otherwise unbound excess electron in the vicinity of the methanol molecule. Using the Phillips–Kleinman theorem we introduce a smooth pseudowave function of the excess electron with the exact eigenenergy and correct asymptotic behavior. The nonlocal potential energy operator of the model Hamiltonian is then replaced to a local potential that reproduces the ground-state properties of the excess electron satisfactorily. The pseudopotential is then optimized in an analytically simple functional form to fit this approximate local potential in conjunction with the point charges and the geometry of a classical, all-site methanol-methanol interaction potential. Of the adjustable parameters, the parameters for the carbon and the methyl hydrogen atoms are optimized, while those for the oxygen and the hydroxyl hydrogen are taken from a previous electron-water molecule pseudopotential. A polarization term is added to the potential a posteriori. The polarization parameters are chosen to reproduce the experimental position of the optical absorption spectrum of an excess electron in mixed quantum-classical molecular dynamics simulations. The energetic, structural and spectroscopic properties of the solvated electron in a methanol bath are simulated at 300 K and compared with previous solvated electron simulations and available experimental data.