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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Exploring non-adiabaticity to CO reduction reaction through ab initio molecular dynamics simulation

  • Author(s): Zheng, F
  • Wang, LW
  • et al.

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Non-adiabatic chemical reaction refers to the electronic excitation during reactions. This effect cannot be modeled by the ground-state Born-Oppenheimer molecular dynamics (BO-MD), where the electronic structure is at the ground state for every step of ions' movement. Although the non-adiabatic effect has been explored extensively in gas phase reactions, its role in electrochemical reactions, such as water splitting and CO2 reduction, in electrolyte has been rarely explored. On the other hand, electrochemical reactions usually involve electron transport; thus, a non-adiabatic process can naturally play a significant role. In this work, using one-step CO2 reduction as an example, we investigated the role of the non-adiabatic effect in the reaction. The reaction barriers were computed by adiabatic BO-MD and non-adiabatic real-time time dependent density functional theory (rt-TDDFT). We found that by including the non-adiabatic effect, rt-TDDFT could increase the reaction barrier up to 6% compared to the BO-MD calculated barrier when the solvent model is used to represent water. Simulations were carried out using explicit water molecules around the reaction site under different overpotentials, and similar non-adiabatic effects were found.

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