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Transferable Gaussian Attractive Potentials for Organic/oxide Interfaces
preprintsubmitted on 04.02.2021, 14:27 and posted on 05.02.2021, 06:18 by Jérôme Rey, Sarah Blanck, Paul Clabaut, Sophie Loehlé, Stephan Steinmann, Carine Michel
Organic/oxide interfaces play an important role in many areas of chemistry, and in particular for lubrication and corrosion. Molecular dynamics simulations are the method of choice for providing complementary insight to experiments. However, the force fields used to simulate the interaction between molecules and oxide surfaces tend to capture only weak physisorption interactions, discarding the stabilizing Lewis acid/base interactions. We here propose an improvement of the usual molecular mechanics description (based on Lennard-Jones and electrostatic interactions) by addition of an attractive Gaussian potential between reactive sites of the surface and heteroatoms of adsorbed organic molecules, leading to the GLJ potential. The interactions of four oxygenated and four amine molecules with the typical and widespread hematite and γ-alumina surfaces are investigated. The total RMSD for all probed molecules decreases from 29.2 to 5.7 kcal/mol, and the corresponding percentage from 107.4 to 22.6% over hematite, while on γ-alumina the RMSD decreases from 21.5 to 7.6 kcal/mol, despite using a single parameter for all five chemically inequivalent surface aluminum atoms. Applying GLJ to the simulation of n-octadecanamine and N-tetradecyldiethanolamine adsorbed films on hematite and alumina respectively demonstrates that mobility of the surfactants is overestimated by the common LJ potential, while GLJ shows a strong structuration and slow dynamics of the surface films, as could be expected from the first-principles adsorption energies for model head-groups.