Importance of nuclear quantum effects on the hydration of chloride ion

Jianhang Xu, Zhaoru Sun, Chunyi Zhang, Mark DelloStritto, Deyu Lu, Michael L. Klein, and Xifan Wu
Physical Review Materials, January 2021

Path-integral ab initio molecular dynamics (PI-AIMD) calculations have been employed to probe the nature of chloride ion solvation in aqueous solution. Nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) are shown to weaken hydrogen bonding between the chloride anion and the solvation shell of water molecules. As a consequence, the disruptive effect of the anion on the solvent water structure is significantly reduced compared to what is found in the absence of NQEs. The chloride hydration structure obtained from PI-AIMD agrees well with information extracted from neutron scattering data. Inparticular, the observed satellite peak in the hydrogen-chloride-hydrogen triple angular distribution serves as a clear signature of NQEs. The present results suggest that NQEs are likely to play acrucial role in determining the structure of saline solutions.