A theoretical study of hydrated molecular clusters of amines and dicarboxylic acids. Academic Article uri icon


  • Amines and carboxylic acids have been recognized as important precursor species in atmospheric new particle formation. In this study, the interaction between dimethylamine and succinic acid is investigated using Basin Paving Monte Carlo (BPMC) sampling with the classical force field to obtain low energy conformers of dimethylamine and succinic acid hydrated molecular clusters. Geometry optimization and frequency calculations are further performed on the basis of the BPMC results using density functional theory. At standard temperature and pressure, dimethylamine binds to succinic acid with a bonding energy of 14.2 kcal mol(-1), smaller than that of dimethylamine with sulfuric acid (21.1 kcal mol(-1)). Hydration promotes proton transfer from succinic acid to dimethylamine and consequently increases the interaction strength, while proton transfer from sulfuric acid to dimethylamine occurs without hydration. On the other hand, the reactivity of sulfuric acid with dimethylamine decreases with the degree of hydration of sulfuric acid. The free energies of formation for hydrated clusters consisting of dimethylamine and succinic acid reveal that the interaction between amines and dicarboxylic acids likely exerts a synergetic effect on atmospheric aerosol nucleation by formation of aminium carboxylate ion pairs.

published proceedings

  • J Chem Phys

author list (cited authors)

  • Xu, W., & Zhang, R.

citation count

  • 58

complete list of authors

  • Xu, Wen||Zhang, Renyi

publication date

  • August 2013