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Hydration Shell Structure and Dynamics of Curium(III) in Aqueous Solution: First Principles and Empirical Studies

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2011 by Raymond Atta-Fynn, Eric J. Bylaska, Gregory K. Schenter, Wibe A. de Jong
Results of ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD), quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM), and classical molecular dynamics (CMD) simulations of Cm3+ in liquid water at a temperature of 300 K are reported. The AIMD simulation was based on the Car−Parrinello MD scheme and GGA-PBE formulation of density functional theory. Two QM/MM simulations were performed by treating Cm3+ and the water molecules in the first shell quantum mechanically using the PBE (QM/MM-PBE) and the hybrid PBE0 density functionals (QM/MM-PBE0). Two CMD simulations were carried out using ab initio derived pair plus three-body potentials (CMD-3B) and empirical Lennard-Jones pair potential (CMD-LJ). The AIMD and QM/MM-PBE simulations predict average first shell hydration numbers of 8, both of which disagree with recent experimental EXAFS and TRLFS value of 9. On the other hand, the average first shell hydration numbers obtained in the QM/MM-PBE0 and CMD simulations was 9, which agrees with experiment. All the simulations predicted an average first shell and second shell Cm−O bond distance of 2.49−2.53 Å and 4.67−4.75 Å respectively, both of which are in fair agreement with corresponding experimental values of 2.45−2.48 and 4.65 Å. The geometric arrangement of the 8-fold and 9-fold coordinated first shell structures corresponded to the square antiprism and tricapped trigonal prisms, respectively. The second shell hydration number for AIMD QM/MM-PBE, QM/MM-PBE0, CMD-3B, and CMD-LJ, were 15.8, 17.2, 17.7, 17.4, and 16.4 respectively, which indicates second hydration shell overcoordination compared to a recent EXAFS experimental value of 13. Save the EXAFS spectra CMD-LJ simulation, all the computed EXAFS spectra agree fairly well with experiment and a clear distinction could not be made between configurations with 8-fold and 9-fold coordinated first shells. The mechanisms responsible for the first shell associative and dissociative ligand exchange in the classical simulations have been analyzed. The first shell mean residence time was predicted to be on the nanosecond time scale. The computed diffusion constants of Cm3+ and water are in good agreement with experimental data.

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