Special Issue "Inorganic Nanoclusters: Advances in Understanding Structure and Properties"

A special issue of Inorganics (ISSN 2304-6740). This special issue belongs to the section "Inorganic Solid-State Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stefan T. Bromley

Department de Química Física & Institut de Química Teòrica i Computacional, Universitat de Barcelona, Carrer Martí i Franquès 1, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain and Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), E-08010 Barcelona, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nanoclusters; nanostructured materials; astromineralogy; computational modelling; structure prediction; inorganic materials chemistry
Guest Editor
Dr. Scott M. Woodley

University College London, Kathleen Lonsdale Materials Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, 20 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: structure prediction; global optimisation; materials chemistry; nanoclusters; materials modelling software development; solid state modelling; high performance computing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Inorganic nanoclusters, typically possessing 10–1000 atoms, possess huge technological potential (e.g., catalysis, nanostructured materials) while presenting a fundamental challenge to our ability to understand inorganic materials at the smallest of scales. Both theoretical and experimental studies from a range of disciplines (e.g., physics, chemistry, nanoscience) are essential in this ongoing endeavor, and synergistic collaborations are very often required to make advances. Here, we highlight a set of representative research studies in this active field to provide a varied overview of current progress and recent breakthroughs in our understanding of the properties and structure of inorganic nanoclusters.

Prof. Dr. Stefan T. Bromley
Dr. Scott M. Woodley
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Inorganics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • inorganic nanoclusters
  • nanocluster structure
  • properties of nanoclusters
  • cluster beam experiments
  • computational modelling
  • nanocluster-based technologies
  • nanoscience
  • nanomaterials

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Improved Cluster Structure Optimization: Hybridizing Evolutionary Algorithms with Local Heat Pulses
Inorganics 2017, 5(4), 64; doi:10.3390/inorganics5040064
Received: 10 September 2017 / Revised: 24 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
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Abstract
Cluster structure optimization (CSO) refers to finding the globally minimal cluster structure with respect to a specific model and quality criterion, and is a computationally extraordinarily hard problem. Here we report a successful hybridization of evolutionary algorithms (EAs) with local heat pulses (LHPs).
[...] Read more.
Cluster structure optimization (CSO) refers to finding the globally minimal cluster structure with respect to a specific model and quality criterion, and is a computationally extraordinarily hard problem. Here we report a successful hybridization of evolutionary algorithms (EAs) with local heat pulses (LHPs). We describe the algorithm’s implementation and assess its performance with hard benchmark CSO cases. EA-LHP showed superior performance compared to regular EAs. Additionally, the EA-LHP hybrid is an unbiased, general CSO algorithm requiring no system-specific solution knowledge. These are compelling arguments for a wider future use of EA-LHP in CSO. Full article
Open AccessArticle A DFT Study on the O2 Adsorption Properties of Supported PtNi Clusters
Inorganics 2017, 5(3), 43; doi:10.3390/inorganics5030043
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
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Abstract
We present a systematic study on the adsorption properties of molecular oxygen on Pt, Ni and PtNi clusters previously deposited on MgO(100) by means of density functional theory calculations. We map the different adsorption sites for a variety of cluster geometries, including icosahedra,
[...] Read more.
We present a systematic study on the adsorption properties of molecular oxygen on Pt, Ni and PtNi clusters previously deposited on MgO(100) by means of density functional theory calculations. We map the different adsorption sites for a variety of cluster geometries, including icosahedra, decahedra, truncated octahedra and cuboctahedra, in the size range between 25–58 atoms. The average adsorption energy depends on the chemical composition, varying from 2 eV for pure Ni, 1.07 for pure Pt and 1.09 for a Pt s h e l l Ni c o r e nanoalloy. To correlate the adsorption map to the adsorption properties, we opt for a geometrical descriptor based on the metallic coordination up to the second coordination shell. We find an almost linear relationship between the second coordination shell and adsorption energy, with low coordination sites, such as those located at the (111)/(111) and (111)/(100) cluster edges-displaying adsorption energies above 1 eV, while higher coordination sites such as (111) cluster facets have an interaction of 0.4 eV or lower. The inclusion of van der Waals corrections leads to an overall increase of the O 2 adsorption energy without an alteration of the general adsorption trends. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Computing Free Energies of Hydroxylated Silica Nanoclusters: Forcefield versus Density Functional Calculations
Inorganics 2017, 5(3), 41; doi:10.3390/inorganics5030041
Received: 18 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 24 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
We assess the feasibility of efficiently calculating accurate thermodynamic properties of (SiO2)n·(H2O)m nanoclusters, using classical interatomic forcefields (FFs). Specifically, we use a recently parameterized FF for hydroxylated bulk silica systems (FFSiOH) to calculate zero-point energies and
[...] Read more.
We assess the feasibility of efficiently calculating accurate thermodynamic properties of (SiO2)n·(H2O)m nanoclusters, using classical interatomic forcefields (FFs). Specifically, we use a recently parameterized FF for hydroxylated bulk silica systems (FFSiOH) to calculate zero-point energies and thermal contributions to vibrational internal energy and entropy, in order to estimate the free energy correction to the internal electronic energy of these nanoclusters. The performance of FFSiOH is then benchmarked against the results of corresponding calculations using density functional theory (DFT) calculations employing the B3LYP functional. Results are reported first for a set of (SiO2)n·(H2O)m clusters with n = 4, 8 and 16, each possessing three different degrees of hydroxylation (R = m/n): 0.0, 0.25 and 0.5. Secondly, we consider five distinct hydroxylated nanocluster isomers with the same (SiO2)16·(H2O)4 composition. Finally, the free energies for the progressive hydroxylation of three nanoclusters with R = 0–0.5 are also calculated. Our results demonstrate that, in all cases, the use of FFSiOH can provide estimates of thermodynamic properties with an accuracy close to that of DFT calculations, and at a fraction of the computational cost. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Investigation of the Structures and Energy Landscapes of Thiocyanate-Water Clusters
Inorganics 2017, 5(2), 20; doi:10.3390/inorganics5020020
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
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Abstract
The Basin Hopping search method is used to find the global minima (GM) and map the energy landscapes of thiocyanate-water clusters, (SCN)(H2O)n with 3–50 water molecules, with empirical potentials describing the ion-water and water-water interactions. (It should be
[...] Read more.
The Basin Hopping search method is used to find the global minima (GM) and map the energy landscapes of thiocyanate-water clusters, (SCN)(H2O)n with 3–50 water molecules, with empirical potentials describing the ion-water and water-water interactions. (It should be noted that beyond n = 23, the lowest energy structures were only found in 1 out of 8 searches so they are unlikely to be the true GM but are indicative low energy structures.) As for pure water clusters, the low energy isomers of thiocyanate-water clusters show a preponderance of fused water cubes and pentagonal prisms, with the weakly solvated thiocyanate ion lying on the surface, replacing two water molecules along an edge of a water polyhedron and with the sulfur atom in lower coordinated sites than nitrogen. However, by comparison with Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations, the empirical potential is found to overestimate the strength of the thiocyanate-water interaction, especially O–H⋯S, with low energy DFT structures having lower coordinate N and (especially) S atoms than for the empirical potential. In the case of these finite ion-water clusters, the chaotropic (“disorder-making”) thiocyanate ion weakens the water cluster structure but the water molecule arrangement is not significantly changed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Modification of Deposited, Size-Selected MoS2 Nanoclusters by Sulphur Addition: An Aberration-Corrected STEM Study
Inorganics 2017, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/inorganics5010001
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3255 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) is an earth-abundant material which has several industrial applications and is considered a candidate for platinum replacement in electrochemistry. Size-selected MoS2 nanoclusters were synthesised in the gas phase using a magnetron sputtering, gas condensation cluster beam source
[...] Read more.
Molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) is an earth-abundant material which has several industrial applications and is considered a candidate for platinum replacement in electrochemistry. Size-selected MoS2 nanoclusters were synthesised in the gas phase using a magnetron sputtering, gas condensation cluster beam source with a lateral time-of-flight mass selector. Most of the deposited MoS2 nanoclusters, analysed by an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) in high-angle annular dark field (HAADF) mode, showed poorly ordered layer structures with an average diameter of 5.5 nm. By annealing and the addition of sulphur to the clusters (by sublimation) in the cluster source, the clusters were transformed into larger, crystalline structures. Annealing alone did not lead to crystallization, only to a cluster size increase by decomposition and coalescence of the primary clusters. Sulphur addition alone led to a partially crystalline structure without a significant change in the size. Thus, both annealing and sulphur addition processes were needed to obtain highly crystalline MoS2 nanoclusters. Full article
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