Isomers and Energy Landscapes of Perchlorate-Water Clusters and a Comparison to Pure Water and Sulfate-Water Clusters

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Hydrated ions are crucially important in a wide array of environments, from biology to the atmosphere, and the presence and concentration of ions in a system can drastically alter its behavior. One way in which ions can affect systems is in their interactions with proteins. The Hofmeister series ranks ions by their ability to salt-out proteins, with kosmotropes, such as sulfate, increasing their stability and chaotropes, such as perchlorate, decreasing their stability. We study hydrated perchlorate clusters as they are strongly chaotropic and thus exhibit different properties than sulfate. In this study we simulate small hydrated perchlorate clusters using a basin-hopping geometry optimization search with empirical potentials. We compare topological features of these clusters to data from both computational and experimental studies of hydrated sulfate ions and draw some conclusions about ion effects in the Hofmeister series. We observe a patterning conferred to the water molecules within the cluster by the presence of the perchlorate ion and compare the magnitude of this effect to that observed in previous studies involving sulfate. We also investigate the influence of the overall ionic charge on the low-energy structures adopted by these clusters.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4008-15
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number23
Early online date25 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016