Accurate Predictions of Water Cluster Formation, (H2O)n=2-10
An efficient mixed molecular dynamics/quantum mechanics model has been applied to the water cluster system. The use of the MP2 method and correlation consistent basis sets, with appropriate correction for BSSE, allows for the accurate calculation of electronic and free energies for the formation of clusters of 2−10 water molecules. This approach reveals new low energy conformers for (H2O)n=7,9,10. The water heptamer conformers comprise five different structural motifs ranging from a three-dimensional prism to a quasi-planar book structure. A prism-like structure is favored energetically at low temperatures, but a chair-like structure is the global Gibbs free energy minimum past 200 K. The water nonamers exhibit less complexity with all the low energy structures shaped like a prism. The decamer has 30 conformers that are within 2 kcal/mol of the Gibbs free energy minimum structure at 298 K. These structures are categorized into four conformer classes, and a pentagonal prism is the most stable structure from 0 to 320 K. Results can be used as benchmark values for empirical water models and density functionals, and the method can be applied to larger water clusters.