|Title||Excess Proton Solvation and Delocalization in a Hydrophilic Pocket of the Proton Conducting Polymer Membrane Nafion|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2005|
|Authors||Petersen, MK, Wang, F, Blake, NP, Metiu, H, Voth, GA|
|Journal||J Phys Chem B|
|Keywords||Fluorocarbon Polymers/*chemistry Models, Molecular Polymers/*chemistry *Protons Solubility|
Solvation properties of the hydrated excess proton are studied in a hydrophilic pocket of Nafion 117 through a series of molecular dynamics simulations. The multistate empirical valence bond (MS-EVB) methodology, which enables the delocalization of the excess proton through the Grotthuss hopping mechanism, was employed for one of the excess protons in the simulation cell. Simulations were performed such that "classical" nondissociable hydronium cations and a single excess proton treated with the MS-EVB methodology were at a concentration ratio of 39:1. Two degrees of hydration of the Nafion polymer electrolyte membrane were simulated, each displaying the same marked difference between the solvation structures of the classical versus MS-EVB treated (Grotthuss shuttling) excess proton species. These differences are attributed to the solvent dynamics needed to transfer the cation between the solvent separated and contact pair positions about the sulfonic acid counterion. The results demonstrate that it is generally impossible to describe the low pH conditions in the hydrophilic domains of Nafion without the explicit treatment of Grotthuss delocalization in the underlying molecular dynamics model for the excess protons.