UMR 8640 : Theoretical physico-chemistry

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On the Mass of Atoms in Molecules: Beyond the Born-Oppenheimer Approximation

PHYSICAL REVIEW X 25 août 2017

Describing the dynamics of nuclei in molecules requires a potential energy surface, which is traditionally provided by the Born-Oppenheimer or adiabatic approximation. However, we also need to assign masses to the nuclei. There, the Born-Oppenheimer picture does not account for the inertia of the electrons, and only bare nuclear masses are considered. Nowadays, experimental accuracy challenges the theoretical predictions of rotational and vibrational spectra and requires the participation of electrons in the internal motion of the molecule. More than 80 years after the original work of Born and Oppenheimer, this issue has still not been solved, in general. Here, we present a theoretical and numerical framework to address this problem in a general and rigorous way. Starting from the exact factorization of the electron-nuclear wave function, we include electronic effects beyond the Born-Oppenheimer regime in a perturbative way via positiondependent corrections to the bare nuclear masses. 

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Covalent Functionalization by Cycloaddition Reactions of Pristine Defect-Free Graphene

ACS Nano, Decembre 2016



Based on a low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy study, we present a direct visualization of a cycloaddition reaction performed for some specific fluorinated maleimide molecules deposited on graphene. Up to now it was widely admitted that such cycloaddition reaction can not happen without pre-existing defects. However, our study shows that the cycloaddition reaction can be carried out on a defect-free basal graphene plane at room temperature. In the course of covalently grafting the molecules to graphene, the sp2 conjugation of carbon atoms was broken and local sp3 bonds were created. The grafted molecules perturbed the graphene lattice, generating a standing-wave pattern with an anisotropy which was attributed to a (1,2) cycloaddition, as revealed by T-matrix approximation calculations. DFT calculations showed that while both (1,4) and (1,2) cycloaddition were possible on free standing graphene, only the (1,2) cycloaddition could be obtained for graphene on SiC(0001). Globally averaging spectroscopic techniques, XPS and ARPES, were used to determine the modification in the elemental composition of the samples induced by the reaction, indicating an opening of an electronic gap in graphene.

Chemisorption of Hydroxide on 2D Materials from DFT Calculations: Graphene versus Hexagonal Boron Nitride

J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2016, 7, 4695−4700


Recent nanofluidic experiments revealed strongly diff erent surface charge measurements for boron-nitride (BN) and graphitic nanotubes when in contact with saline and alkaline water (Nature 2013 , 494 , 455− 458; Phys. Rev. Lett. 2016 , 116 , 154501). These observations contrast with the similar reactivity of a graphene layer and its BN counterpart, using density functional theory (DFT) framework, for intact and dissociative adsorption of gaseous water molecules. Here we investigate, by DFT in implicit water, single and multiple adsorption of anionic hydroxide on single layers. A differential adsorption strength is found in vacuum for the first ionic adsorption on the two materials chemisorbed on BN while physisorbed on graphene. The effect of implicit solvation reduces all adsorption values, resulting in a favorable (nonfavorable) adsorption on BN (graphene). We also calculate a pKa around  6 for BN in water, in good agreement with experiments. Comparatively, the unfavorable results for graphene in water echo the weaker surface charge measurements but point to an alternative scenario.

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