Proton-transfer dynamics in the (HCO3-)(2) dimer of KHCO3 from Car-Parrinello and path-integrals molecular dynamics calculations
The proton motion in the (HCO(3)(-))(2) dimer of KHCO(3) at 298 K has been studied with Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics (CPMD) and path-integrals molecular dynamics (PIMD) simulations. According to earlier neutron diffraction studies at 298 K hydrogen is disordered and occupies two positions with an occupancy ratio of 0.804/0.196. A simulation with only one unit cell is not sufficient to reproduce the disorder of the protons found in the experiments. The CPMD results with four cells, 0.783/0.217, are in close agreement with experiment. The motion of the two protons along the O...O bridge is highly correlated inside one dimer, but strongly uncoupled between different dimers. The present results support a mechanism for the disorder which involves proton transfer from donor to acceptor and not orientational disordering of the entire dimer. The question of simultaneous or successive proton transfer in the two hydrogen bonds in the dimer remains unanswered. During the simulation situations with almost simultaneous proton transfer with a time gap of around 1 fs were observed, as well as successive processes where first one proton is transferred and then the second one with a time gap of around 20 fs. The calculated vibrational spectrum is in good agreement with the experimental IR spectrum, but a slightly different assignment of the bands is indicated by the present simulations.