Density functional theory modeling of chromate adsorption onto ferrihydrite nanoparticles.

Author(s) Kubicki, J.D.; Kabengi, N.; Chrysochoou, M.; Bompoti, N.
Journal Geochem Trans
Date Published 2018 Mar 01

Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were performed on a model of a ferrihydrite nanoparticle interacting with chromate () in water. Two configurations each of monodentate and bidentate adsorbed chromate as well as an outer-sphere and a dissolved bichromate () were simulated. In addition to the 3-D periodic planewave DFT models, molecular clusters were extracted from the energy-minimized structures. Calculated interatomic distances from the periodic and cluster models compare favorably with Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure spectroscopy values, with larger discrepancies seen for the clusters due to over-relaxation of the model substrate. Relative potential energies were derived from the periodic models and Gibbs free energies from the cluster models. A key result is that the bidentate binuclear configuration is the lowest in potential energy in the periodic models followed by the outer-sphere complex. This result is consistent with observations of the predominance of bidentate chromate adsorption on ferrihydrite under conditions of high surface coverage (Johnston Environ Sci Technol 46:5851-5858, 2012). Cluster models were also used to perform frequency analyses for comparison with observed ATR FTIR spectra. Calculated frequencies on monodentate, bidentate binuclear, and outer-sphere complexes each have infrared (IR)-active modes consistent with experiment. Inconsistencies between the thermodynamic predictions and the IR-frequency analysis suggest that the 3-D periodic models are not capturing key components of the system that influence the adsorption equilibria under varying conditions of pH, ionic strength and electrolyte composition. Model equilibration via molecular dynamics (MD) simulations is necessary to escape metastable states created during DFT energy minimizations based on the initial classical force field MD-derived starting configurations.

DOI 10.1186/s12932-018-0053-8
ISSN 1467-4866
Citation Kubicki JD, Kabengi N, Chrysochoou M, Bompoti N. Density functional theory modeling of chromate adsorption onto ferrihydrite nanoparticles. Geochem Trans. 2018;19(1):8.

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