On the applicability of one- and many-electron quantum chemistry models for hydrated electron clusters

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We evaluate the applicability of a hierarchy of quantum models in characterizing the binding energy of excess electrons to water clusters. In particular, we calculate the vertical detachment energy of an excess electron from water cluster anions with methods that include one-electron pseudopotential calculations, density functional theory (DFT) based calculations, and ab initio quantum chemistry using MP2 and eom-EA-CCSD levels of theory. The examined clusters range from the smallest cluster size (n = 2) up to nearly nanosize clusters with n = 1000 molecules. The examined cluster configurations are extracted from mixed quantum-classical molecular dynamics trajectories of cluster anions with n = 1000 water molecules using two different one-electron pseudopotenial models. We find that while MP2 calculations with large diffuse basis set provide a reasonable description for the hydrated electron system, DFT methods should be used with precaution and only after careful benchmarking. Strictly tested one-electron psudopotentials can still be considered as reasonable alternatives to DFT methods, especially in large systems. The results of quantum chemistry calculations performed on configurations, that represent possible excess electron binding motifs in the clusters, appear to be consistent with the results using a cavity structure preferring one-electron pseudopotential for the hydrated electron, while they are in sharp disagreement with the structural predictions of a non-cavity model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154311
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Apr 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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