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Aqueous Solvation of Hg(OH)2: Energetic and Dynamical Density Functional Theory Studies of the Hg(OH)2–(H2O)n (n = 1–24) Structures

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journal contribution
posted on 19.09.2013, 00:00 by J. I. Amaro-Estrada, L. Maron, A. Ramírez-Solís
A systematic study of the hydration of Hg­(OH)2 by the stepwise solvation approach is reported. The optimized structures, solvation energies, and incremental free energies of 1–24 water molecules interacting with the solute have been computed at the B3PW91 level using 6-31G­(d,p) basis sets for the O and H atoms. The mercury atom was treated with the Stuttgart–Köln relativistic core potential in combination with an extended optimized valence basis set. One to three direct Hg–water interactions appear along the solvation process. The first solvation shell is fully formed with 24 water molecules. A stable pentacoordinated Hg trigonal bipyramid structure appears for n > 15. Density functional theory (DFT) Born–Oppenheimer molecular dynamics simulations showed the thermal stability of the Hg­(OH)2–(H2O)24 structure at room temperature and the persistence of the trigonal bipyramid coordination around Hg. The Gibbs free energy for the first solvation shell is significantly larger for the fully solvated Hg­(OH)2 than the one previously obtained for the HgCl2 case, due to σ-acceptor and π-donor properties involving the hydroxyl groups of the solute. This suggests that the transmembrane passage of Hg­(OH)2 into the cell via simple diffusion is less favorable compared to the case when the metal is coordinated with two Cl groups.