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Title: Towards a unified picture of the water self-ions at the air-water interface: a density functional theory perspective

The propensities of the water self ions, H3O+ and OH- , for the air-water interface has implications for interfacial acid-base chemistry. Despite numerous experimental and computational studies, no consensus has been reached on the question of whether or not H3O+ and/or OH- prefer to be at the water surface or in the bulk. Here we report a molecular dynamics simulation study of the bulk vs. interfacial behavior of H3O+ and OH- that employs forces derived from density functional theory with a generalized gradient approximation exchangecorrelation functional (specifically, BLYP) and empirical dispersion corrections. We computed the potential of mean force (PMF) for H3O+ as a function of the position of the ion in a 215-molecule water slab. The PMF is flat, suggesting that H3O+ has equal propensity for the air-water interface and the bulk. We compare the PMF for H3O+ to our previously computed PMF for OH- adsorption, which contains a shallow minimum at the interface, and we explore how differences in solvation of each ion at the interface vs. the bulk are connected with interfacial propensity. We find that the solvation shell of H3O+ is only slightly dependent on its position in the water slab, while OH- partially desolvates asmore » it approaches the interface, and we examine how this difference in solvation behavior is manifested in the electronic structure and chemistry of the two ions. DJT was supported by National Science Foundation grant CHE-0909227. CJM was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy‘s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is operated for the Department of Energy by Battelle. The potential of mean force required resources of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DEAC05-00OR22725. The remaining simulations and analysis used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. at at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. MDB is grateful for the support of the Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at PNNL.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 118(28):8364-8372
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States