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J Phys Chem A. 2011 Jun 23;115(24):6327-38. doi: 10.1021/jp110558y. Epub 2011 May 23.

Comparison of hydrated hydroperoxide anion (HOO-)(H2O)n clusters with alkaline hydrogen peroxide (HOOH)(OH-)(H2O)(n-1) clusters, n = 1-8, 20: an ab initio study.

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McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 115 Mill Street, Centre Building, 11 Belmont, Massachusetts 02144, United States.


Hydroperoxide anion (HOO(-)), the conjugate base of hydrogen peroxide (HOOH), has been relatively little studied despite the importance of HOOH in commercial processes, atmospheric science, and biology. The anion has been shown to exist as a stable species in alkaline water. This project explored the structure of gas phase (HOO(-))(H(2)O)(n) clusters and identified the lowest energy configurations for n ≤ 8 at the B3LYP/6-311++G** level of theory and for n ≤ 6 at the MP2/aug-cc-pVTZ level of theory. As a start toward understanding equilibration between HOO(-) and HOOH in an alkaline environment, (HOOH)(OH(-))(H(2)O)(n-1) clusters were likewise examined, and the lowest energy configurations were determined for n ≤ 8 (B3LYP/6-311++G**) and n ≤ 6 (MP2/aug-cc-pVTZ). Some studies were also done for n = 20. The two species have very different solvation behaviors. In low energy (HOOH)(OH(-))(H(2)O)(n-1) clusters, HOOH sits on the surface of the cluster, is 4-coordinated (each O is donor once and acceptor once), and donates to the hydroxide ion. In contrast, in low energy (HOO(-))(H(2)O)(n) clusters, (HOO(-)) takes a position in the cluster center surrounded on all sides by water molecules, and its optimum coordination number appears to be 7 (one O is donor-acceptor-acceptor while the other is a 4-fold acceptor). For n ≤ 6 the lowest (HOOH)(OH(-))(H(2)O)(n-1) cluster lies 1.0-2.1 kcal/mol below the lowest (HOO(-))(H(2)O)(n) cluster, but the lowest clusters found for n = 20 favor (HOO(-))(H(2)O)(20). The results suggest that ambient water could act as a substantial kinetic brake that slows equilibration between (HOOH)(OH(-)) and (HOO(-))(H(2)O) because extensive rearrangement of solvation shells is necessary to restabilize either species after proton transfer.

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