May 10, 2024
Journal Article

First principles simulations of MgO (100) surface hydration at ambient conditions


Developing a better understanding of water ordering and hydroxylation at oxide mineral surfaces is important across a breath of application spaces. Recent vibrational sum frequency generation (vSFG) measurements on MgO (100) surfaces at ambient conditions showed that water dissociates and hydroxylates the surface yielding a non-hydrogen bonded hydroxyl species. Starting from previously determined water hydroxylation patterns on MgO (100), we performed ab initio thermodynamic calculations and vibrational analysis to compare with the vSFG observations. At ambient conditions (i.e., T=298.15 K and p_("H" _"2" "O" )=32 mbar), the most thermodynamically favorable surface hydroxylation is found to be p(3×2) – 8H2O, involving a dissociation of 25% of the adsorbed water. Analysis of the vibrational density of states for this hydroxylation configuration yielded three different hydrogen bonding environments in very good agreement with the vSFG measurements. However, the non-H-bonded spectral feature on this surface is predicted to be similar to that expected for Mg(OH)2, a thermodynamically downhill alteration of the surface that must be independently ruled out before one can be fully confident in the apparent theory/vSFG agreement. Our study provides more insights into the ordering and structure of water monolayer at MgO (100) surface at ambient conditions and completes previous theoretical and experimental analysis performed at low temperature and ultra-high vacuum conditions.

Published: May 10, 2024


Sassi M., and K.M. Rosso. 2023. First principles simulations of MgO (100) surface hydration at ambient conditions. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 26, no. 3:2269-2276. PNNL-SA-188183. doi:10.1039/D3CP04848A