Theoretical prediction of coordination environments and stability constants of lanthanum lactate complexes in solution†
Using Density Functional Theory calculations in combination with explicit solvent and a continuum solvent model, this work sets out to understand the coordination environment and relevant thermodynamics of La(III)-lactate complexes. Calculations focus on the coordination modes for the complexes and changes in Gibbs free energy for complexation in solution. These results confirm that the α-hydroxyl group should be protonated, or at least hydrogen bonded to a water molecule, upon successive addition of the lactate ligand to the La(III) center using Bader's Atoms-in Molecules (AIM) approach. In addition, we present a straightforward method for predicting stability constants at the semi-quantitative level for La(III)-lactate complexes in solution. The proposed method could be particularly useful for prediction of lanthanide complex formation in various biochemical, environmental, and nuclear separations processes.