Improved Configurational Sampling Protocol for Large Atmospheric Molecular Clusters

Haide Wu, Morten Engsvang, Yosef Knattrup, Jakub Kubečka, Jonas Elm*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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The nucleation process leading to the formation of new atmospheric particles plays a crucial role in aerosol research. Quantum chemical (QC) calculations can be used to model the early stages of aerosol formation, where atmospheric vapor molecules interact and form stable molecular clusters. However, QC calculations heavily depend on the chosen computational method, and when dealing with large systems, striking a balance between accuracy and computational cost becomes essential. We benchmarked the binding energies and structures and found the B97-3c method to be a good compromise between the accuracy and computational cost for studying large cluster systems. Further, we carefully assessed configurational sampling procedures for targeting large atmospheric molecular clusters containing up to 30 molecules (approximately 2 nm in diameter) and proposed a funneling approach with highly improved accuracy. We find that several parallel ABCluster explorations lead to better guesses for the cluster global energy minimum structures than one long exploration. This methodology allows us to bridge computational studies of molecular clusters, which typically reach only around 1 nm, with experimental studies that often measure particles larger than 2 nm. By employing this workflow, we searched for low-energy configurations of large sulfuric acid-ammonia and sulfuric acid-dimethylamine clusters. We find that the binding free energies of clusters containing dimethylamine are unequivocally more stable than those of the ammonia-containing clusters. Our improved configurational sampling protocol can in the future be applied to study the growth and dynamics of large clusters of arbitrary compositions.

TidsskriftACS Omega
Sider (fra-til)45065-45077
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2023


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