American Chemical Society
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Computational Tools for Calculating log β Values of Geochemically Relevant Uranium Organometallic Complexes

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-09-04, 00:00 authored by Matthew E. Kirby, Alexandra Simperler, Samuel Krevor, Dominik J. Weiss, Jason L. Sonnenberg
Uranium (UVI) interacts with organic ligands, subsequently controlling its aqueous chemistry. It is therefore imperative to assess the binding ability of natural organic molecules. We evidence that density functional theory (DFT) can be used as a practical protocol for predicting the stability of UVI organic ligand complexes, allowing for the development of a relative stability series for organic complexes with limited experimental data. Solvation methods and DFT settings were benchmarked to suggest a suitable off-the-shelf solution. The results indicate that the IEFPCM solvation method should be employed. A mixed solvation approach improves the accuracy of the calculated stability constant (log β); however, the calculated log β are approximately five times more favorable than experimental data. Different basis sets, functionals, and effective core potentials were tested to check that there were no major changes in molecular geometries and ΔrG. The recommended method employed is the B3LYP functional, aug-cc-pVDZ basis set for ligands, MDF60 ECP and basis set for UVI, and the IEFPCM solvation model. Using the fitting approach employed in the literature with these updated DFT settings allows fitting of 1:1 UVI complexes with root-mean-square deviation of 1.38 log β units. Fitting multiple bound carboxylate ligands indicates a second, separate fitting for 1:2 and 1:3 complexes.