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Reconciling Work Functions and Adsorption Enthalpies for Implicit Solvent Models: A Pt (111)/Water Interface Case Study

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2020 by Gabriel Bramley, Manh-Thuong Nguyen, Vassiliki-Alexandra Glezakou, Roger Rousseau, Chris-Kriton Skylaris
Implicit solvent models are a computationally efficient method of representing solid/liquid interfaces prevalent in electrocatalysis, energy storage, and materials science. However, electronic structure changes induced at the metallic surface by the dielectric continuum are not fully understood. To address this, we perform DFT calculations for the Pt(111)/water interface, in order to compare Poisson–Boltzmann continuum solvation methods with ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations of explicit solvent. We show that the implicit solvent cavity can be parametrized in terms of the electric dipole moment change at the equilibrated explicit Pt/water interface to obtain the potential of zero charge (PZC). We also compare the accuracy of aqueous enthalpies of adsorption of phenol on Pt(111) using geometry and charge density based dielectric cavitation methods. The ability to parametrize the cavity according to individual atoms, as afforded in the geometry based approach, is key to obtaining accurate enthalpy changes of adsorption under aqueous conditions. We also show that the electronic structure changes induced by explicit solvent and our proposed implicit solvent parametrization scheme yield comparable density difference profiles and d-band projected density of states. We therefore demonstrate the capability of implicit solvent approaches to capture both the energetics of adsorption processes and the main electronic effects of aqueous solvent on the metallic surface. This work therefore provides a scheme for computationally efficient simulations of interfacial processes for applications in areas such as heterogeneous catalysis and electrochemistry.