Aqueous divalent metal-nitrate interactions: hydration versus ion pairing

Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2008 Aug 28;10(32):4793-801. doi: 10.1039/b807090n. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Abstract

Nitrate aqueous solutions, Mg(NO(3))(2), Ca(NO(3))(2), Sr(NO(3))(2), and Pb(NO(3))(2), are investigated using Raman spectroscopy and free energy profiles from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Analysis of the in-plane deformation, symmetric stretch, and asymmetric stretch vibrational modes of the nitrate ions reveal perturbation caused by the metal cations and hydrating water molecules. Results show that Pb(2+) has a strong tendency to form contact ion pairs with nitrate relative to Sr(2+), Ca(2+), and Mg(2+), and contact ion pair formation decreases with decreasing cation size and increasing cation charge density: Pb(2+) > Sr(2+) > Ca(2+) > Mg(2+). In the case of Mg(2+), the Mg(2+)-OH(2) intermolecular modes indicate strong hydration by water molecules and no contact ion pairing with nitrate. Free energy profiles provide evidence for the experimentally observed trend and clarification between solvent-separated, solvent-shared, and contact ion pairs, particularly for Mg(2+) relative to other cations.