Hydration properties of lanthanoid(iii) carbonate complexes in liquid water determined by polarizable molecular dynamics simulations†
In this work we have studied the structure and dynamics of complexes formed by three and four carbonates and a central lanthanoid(III) ion in liquid water by means of polarizable molecular dynamics simulations. With this aim we have developed a force field employing an extrapolation procedure that was previously developed for lanthanoid(III) aqua ions and then we have validated it against DFT-based data. In this way we were able to shed light on properties of the whole series, finding some similarities and differences across the series, and to help in interpreting experiments on those systems. We found that the bi-dentate tri-carbonate complexes are the most stable for all the atoms, but a variation of the number of water molecules in the first ion shell, and the associated exchange dynamics, is observed from lighter to heavier elements. On the other hand, for four-carbonate systems only one water molecule is observed in the first shell, with 10–20% probability, for La(III) and Ce(III), while for the rest of the series it seems impossible for a water molecule to enter the first ion shell in the presence of such an excess of carbonate ligands. Finally, the good performance of our extrapolation procedure, based on ionic radii, makes us confident in extending such approaches to study the structure and dynamics of other systems in solution containing Ln(III) and An(III) ions. This parametrization method results particularly useful since it does not need expensive quantum chemistry calculations for all the atoms in the series.