Recent Publications

Jorge Kohanoff

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  1. Title: An isothermal-isobaric Langevin thermostat for simulating nanoparticles under pressure: Application to Au clusters

    Author(s): Kohanoff J., Caro A., Finnis M.W.

    Chemphyschem, 6, No. 9, pp. 1848-1852 (SEP 5 2005)

    doi: 10.1002/cphc.200400607

    We present a method for simulating clusters or, molecules subjected to an external pressure, which is exerted by a pressure-transmitting medium. It is based on the canoninical Langevin thermostat, but extended in such a way that the Brownian forces are allowed to operate only from the region exterior to the cluster. We show that the frictional force of the Langevin thermostat is linked to the pressure of the reservoir in a unique way, and that this property manifests itself when the particle it acts upon is not pointlike but has finite dimensions. By choosing appropriately the strength of the random forces and the friction coefficient, both temperature and pressure can be controlled independently. We illustrate the capabilities of this new method by calculating the compressibility of small gold clusters under pressure.

  2. Title: Structure and dynamics of a confined ionic liquid. topics of relevance to dye-sensitized solar cells

    Author(s): Pinilla C., Del Popolo M.G., Lynden-Bell R.M., Kohanoff J.

    Journal Of Physical Chemistry B, 109, No. 38, pp. 17922-17927 (SEP 29 2005)

    doi: 10.1021/jp052999o

    The behavior of a model ionic liquid (IL) confined between two flat parallel walls was studied at various interwall distances using computer simulations. The results focus both on structural and dynamical properties. Mass and charge density along the confinement axis reveal a structure of layers parallel to the walls that leads to an oscillatory profile in the electrostatic potential. Orientational correlation functions indicate that cations at the interface orient tilted with respect to the surface and that any other orientational order is lost thereafter. The diffusion coefficients of the ions exhibit a maximum as a function of the confinement distance, a behavior that results from a combination of the structure of the liquid as a whole and a faster molecular motion in the vicinity of the walls. We discuss the relevance of the present results and elaborate on topics that need further attention regarding the effects of ILs in the functioning of IL-based dye-sensitized solar cells.

  3. Title: First-principles study of ferroelectricity and isotope effects in H-bonded KH2PO4 crystals

    Author(s): Koval S., Kohanoff J., Lasave J., Colizzi G., Migoni R.L.

    Physical Review B, 71, No. 18, Art. No. 184102 (MAY 2005)

    doi: 10.1103/PhysRevB.71.184102

    By means of extensive first-principles calculations we studied the ferroelectric phase transition and the associated isotope effect in KH2PO4 (KDP). Our calculations revealed that the spontaneous polarization of the ferroelectric phase is due to electronic charge redistributions and ionic displacements which are a consequence of proton ordering, and not vice versa. The experimentally observed double-peaked proton distribution in the paraelectric phase cannot be explained by a dynamics of only protons. This requires, instead, collective displacements within clusters that include also the heavier ions. These tunneling clusters can explain the recent evidence of tunneling obtained from Compton scattering measurements. The sole effect of mass change upon deuteration is not sufficient to explain the huge isotope effect. Instead, we find that structural modifications deeply connected with the chemistry of the H bonds produce a feedback effect on tunneling that strongly enhances the phenomenon. The resulting influence of the geometric changes on the isotope effect agrees with experimental data from neutron scattering. Calculations under pressure allowed us to analyze the issue of universality in the disappearance of ferroelectricity upon compression. Compressing DKDP so that the distance between the two peaks in the deuteron distribution is the same as for protons in KDP, corresponds to a modification of the underlying double-well potential, which becomes 23 meV shallower. This energy difference is what is required to modify the O-O distance in such a way as to have the same distribution for protons and deuterons. At the high pressures required experimentally, the above feedback mechanism is crucial to explain the magnitude of the geometrical effect.

  4. Title: Ab initio molecular dynamics simulation of a room temperature ionic liquid

    Author(s): Del Popolo M.G., Lynden-Bell R.M., Kohanoff J.

    Journal Of Physical Chemistry B, 109, No. 12, pp. 5895-5902 (MAR 31 2005)

    doi: 10.1021/jp044414g

    Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations have been performed for the first time on the room-temperature organic ionic liquid dimethyl imidazolium chloride [DMIM][Cl] using density functional theory. The aim is to compare the local liquid structure with both that obtained from two different classical force fields and from neutron scattering experiments. The local structure around the cation shows significant differences compared to both the classical calculations and the neutron results. In particular, and unlike in the gas-phase ion pair, chloride ions tend to be located near a ring C-H proton in a position suggesting hydrogen bonding. The results are used to suggest ways in which the classical potentials may be improved.

  5. Title: Simulation of interfaces between room temperature ionic liquids and other liquids

    Author(s): Lynden-Bell R.M., Kohanoff J., Del Popolo M.G.

    Faraday Discussions, 129, pp. 57-67 (2005)

    doi: 10.1039/b405514d

    The structure and properties of the interfaces between the room temperature ionic liquid dimethylimidazolium chloride ([dmim]Cl) and different Lennard-Jones fluids and between ionic liquid and water have been studied by molecular dynamics simulations, and compared to the ionic liquid-vapour interface. Two contrasting types of interface were investigated, thermodynamically stable interfaces between ionic liquid and vapour and between ionic liquid and Lennard-Jones fluids, and diffusing interfaces between miscible phases of different compositions involving water. The density profiles of different species through the interface are presented. The cations and water molecules near the former type of interface are aligned relative to the surface, but no orientational preference was found near or in the broad diffusing interface. The ionic liquid has a negative electrostatic potential relative to vapour or Lennard-Jones fluid, but is more positive than pure water. This contrast is explained in terms of the relative importance of orientation and concentration differences in the two types of interface.