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Al-Hamdani Y.S.,Thomas Young Center and London Center for Nanotechnology | Al-Hamdani Y.S.,University College London | Ma M.,Thomas Young Center and London Center for Nanotechnology | Ma M.,University College London | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Physics | Year: 2015

Despite a recent flurry of experimental and simulation studies, an accurate estimate of the interaction strength of water molecules with hexagonal boron nitride is lacking. Here, we report quantum Monte Carlo results for the adsorption of a water monomer on a periodic hexagonal boron nitride sheet, which yield a water monomer interaction energy of -84 ± 5 meV. We use the results to evaluate the performance of several widely used density functional theory (DFT) exchange correlation functionals and find that they all deviate substantially. Differences in interaction energies between different adsorption sites are however better reproduced by DFT. © 2015 Author(s).


Cox S.J.,Thomas Young Center and London Center for Nanotechnology | Cox S.J.,University College London | Towler M.D.,University College London | Towler M.D.,University of Cambridge | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Physics | Year: 2014

High quality reference data from diffusion Monte Carlo calculations are presented for bulk sI methane hydrate, a complex crystal exhibiting both hydrogen-bond and dispersion dominated interactions. The performance of some commonly used exchange-correlation functionals and all-atom point charge force fields is evaluated. Our results show that none of the exchange-correlation functionals tested are sufficient to describe both the energetics and the structure of methane hydrate accurately, while the point charge force fields perform badly in their description of the cohesive energy but fair well for the dissociation energetics. By comparing to ice Ih, we show that a good prediction of the volume and cohesive energies for the hydrate relies primarily on an accurate description of the hydrogen bonded water framework, but that to correctly predict stability of the hydrate with respect to dissociation to ice Ih and methane gas, accuracy in the water-methane interaction is also required. Our results highlight the difficulty that density functional theory faces in describing both the hydrogen bonded water framework and the dispersion bound methane. © 2014 Author(s).


PubMed | University of Basel and Thomas Young Center and London Center for Nanotechnology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of chemical physics | Year: 2016

Novel uses for 2-dimensional materials like graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) are being frequently discovered especially for membrane and catalysis applications. Still however, a great deal remains to be understood about the interaction of environmentally and industrially relevant molecules such as water with these materials. Taking inspiration from advances in hybridising graphene and h-BN, we explore using density functional theory, the dissociation of water, hydrogen, methane, and methanol on graphene, h-BN, and their isoelectronic doped counterparts: BN dopedgraphene and C doped h-BN. We find that dopedsurfaces are considerably more reactive than their pristine counterparts and by comparing the reactivity of several small molecules, we develop a general framework for dissociative adsorption. From this a particularly attractive consequence of isoelectronic doping emerges: substrates can be doped to enhance their reactivity specifically towards either polar or non-polar adsorbates. As such, these substrates are potentially viable candidates for selective catalysts and membranes, with the implication that a range of tuneable materials can be designed.


PubMed | University of Basel and Thomas Young Center and London Center for Nanotechnology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of chemical physics | Year: 2014

Density functional theory (DFT) studies of weakly interacting complexes have recently focused on the importance of van der Waals dispersion forces, whereas the role of exchange has received far less attention. Here, by exploiting the subtle binding between water and a boron and nitrogen doped benzene derivative (1,2-azaborine) we show how exact exchange can alter the binding conformation within a complex. Benchmark values have been calculated for three orientations of the water monomer on 1,2-azaborine from explicitly correlated quantum chemical methods, and we have also used diffusion quantum Monte Carlo. For a host of popular DFT exchange-correlation functionals we show that the lack of exact exchange leads to the wrong lowest energy orientation of water on 1,2-azaborine. As such, we suggest that a high proportion of exact exchange and the associated improvement in the electronic structure could be needed for the accurate prediction of physisorption sites on doped surfaces and in complex organic molecules. Meanwhile to predict correct absolute interaction energies an accurate description of exchange needs to be augmented by dispersion inclusive functionals, and certain non-local van der Waals functionals (optB88- and optB86b-vdW) perform very well for absolute interaction energies. Through a comparison with water on benzene and borazine (B3N3H6) we show that these results could have implications for the interaction of water with doped graphene surfaces, and suggest a possible way of tuning the interaction energy.

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