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Large-scale atomistic and quantum-mechanical simulations of a Nafion membrane: Morphology, proton solvation and charge transport.

Komarov PV, Khalatur PG, Khokhlov AR - Beilstein J Nanotechnol (2013)

Bottom Line: For the water/Nafion systems containing more than 4 million atoms, it is found that the observed microphase-segregated morphology can be classified as bicontinuous: both majority (hydrophobic) and minority (hydrophilic) subphases are 3D continuous and organized in an irregular ordered pattern, which is largely similar to that known for a bicontinuous double-diamond structure.A thermodynamic decomposition of the potential of mean force and the calculated spectral densities of the hindered translational motions of cations reveal that ion association observed with decreasing temperature is largely an entropic effect related to the loss of low-frequency modes.The extensive 120 ps-long density functional theory (DFT)-based simulations of charge migration in the 1200-atom model of the nanochannel consisting of Nafion chains and water molecules allowed us to observe the bimodality of the van Hove autocorrelation function, which provides the direct evidence of the Grotthuss bond-exchange (hopping) mechanism as a significant contributor to the proton conductivity.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Organoelement Compounds, RAS, Moscow 119991, Russia ; Department of Theoretical Physics, Tver State University, Tver 170002, Russia.

ABSTRACT
Atomistic and first-principles molecular dynamics simulations are employed to investigate the structure formation in a hydrated Nafion membrane and the solvation and transport of protons in the water channel of the membrane. For the water/Nafion systems containing more than 4 million atoms, it is found that the observed microphase-segregated morphology can be classified as bicontinuous: both majority (hydrophobic) and minority (hydrophilic) subphases are 3D continuous and organized in an irregular ordered pattern, which is largely similar to that known for a bicontinuous double-diamond structure. The characteristic size of the connected hydrophilic channels is about 25-50 Å, depending on the water content. A thermodynamic decomposition of the potential of mean force and the calculated spectral densities of the hindered translational motions of cations reveal that ion association observed with decreasing temperature is largely an entropic effect related to the loss of low-frequency modes. Based on the results from the atomistic simulation of the morphology of Nafion, we developed a realistic model of ion-conducting hydrophilic channel within the Nafion membrane and studied it with quantum molecular dynamics. The extensive 120 ps-long density functional theory (DFT)-based simulations of charge migration in the 1200-atom model of the nanochannel consisting of Nafion chains and water molecules allowed us to observe the bimodality of the van Hove autocorrelation function, which provides the direct evidence of the Grotthuss bond-exchange (hopping) mechanism as a significant contributor to the proton conductivity.

No MeSH data available.


(a) Atomistic representation of the 524,864-atom system and (b) the isodensity surface that demonstrates the distribution of water oxygen atoms in the same system.
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Figure 6: (a) Atomistic representation of the 524,864-atom system and (b) the isodensity surface that demonstrates the distribution of water oxygen atoms in the same system.

Mentions: The convenient approach to visualize the spatially complex internal structure within the simulated volume is the use of a surface of constant atomic density (isodensity surface) instead of atomistic representation. As an example, we show in Fig. 6 the isodensity surface that demonstrates the distribution of water oxygens in the 524,864-atom system at λ = 10. The isodensity surface was defined as ρO/ = 1/2, where is the average density of water oxygens in the system. As seen, the 3D distribution of the hydrophilic subphase most closely resembles that which is typical for DD structure (Fig. 5).


Large-scale atomistic and quantum-mechanical simulations of a Nafion membrane: Morphology, proton solvation and charge transport.

Komarov PV, Khalatur PG, Khokhlov AR - Beilstein J Nanotechnol (2013)

(a) Atomistic representation of the 524,864-atom system and (b) the isodensity surface that demonstrates the distribution of water oxygen atoms in the same system.
© Copyright Policy - Beilstein
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3817934&req=5

Figure 6: (a) Atomistic representation of the 524,864-atom system and (b) the isodensity surface that demonstrates the distribution of water oxygen atoms in the same system.
Mentions: The convenient approach to visualize the spatially complex internal structure within the simulated volume is the use of a surface of constant atomic density (isodensity surface) instead of atomistic representation. As an example, we show in Fig. 6 the isodensity surface that demonstrates the distribution of water oxygens in the 524,864-atom system at λ = 10. The isodensity surface was defined as ρO/ = 1/2, where is the average density of water oxygens in the system. As seen, the 3D distribution of the hydrophilic subphase most closely resembles that which is typical for DD structure (Fig. 5).

Bottom Line: For the water/Nafion systems containing more than 4 million atoms, it is found that the observed microphase-segregated morphology can be classified as bicontinuous: both majority (hydrophobic) and minority (hydrophilic) subphases are 3D continuous and organized in an irregular ordered pattern, which is largely similar to that known for a bicontinuous double-diamond structure.A thermodynamic decomposition of the potential of mean force and the calculated spectral densities of the hindered translational motions of cations reveal that ion association observed with decreasing temperature is largely an entropic effect related to the loss of low-frequency modes.The extensive 120 ps-long density functional theory (DFT)-based simulations of charge migration in the 1200-atom model of the nanochannel consisting of Nafion chains and water molecules allowed us to observe the bimodality of the van Hove autocorrelation function, which provides the direct evidence of the Grotthuss bond-exchange (hopping) mechanism as a significant contributor to the proton conductivity.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Organoelement Compounds, RAS, Moscow 119991, Russia ; Department of Theoretical Physics, Tver State University, Tver 170002, Russia.

ABSTRACT
Atomistic and first-principles molecular dynamics simulations are employed to investigate the structure formation in a hydrated Nafion membrane and the solvation and transport of protons in the water channel of the membrane. For the water/Nafion systems containing more than 4 million atoms, it is found that the observed microphase-segregated morphology can be classified as bicontinuous: both majority (hydrophobic) and minority (hydrophilic) subphases are 3D continuous and organized in an irregular ordered pattern, which is largely similar to that known for a bicontinuous double-diamond structure. The characteristic size of the connected hydrophilic channels is about 25-50 Å, depending on the water content. A thermodynamic decomposition of the potential of mean force and the calculated spectral densities of the hindered translational motions of cations reveal that ion association observed with decreasing temperature is largely an entropic effect related to the loss of low-frequency modes. Based on the results from the atomistic simulation of the morphology of Nafion, we developed a realistic model of ion-conducting hydrophilic channel within the Nafion membrane and studied it with quantum molecular dynamics. The extensive 120 ps-long density functional theory (DFT)-based simulations of charge migration in the 1200-atom model of the nanochannel consisting of Nafion chains and water molecules allowed us to observe the bimodality of the van Hove autocorrelation function, which provides the direct evidence of the Grotthuss bond-exchange (hopping) mechanism as a significant contributor to the proton conductivity.

No MeSH data available.