E. Osorio, A. Vásquez, E. Flórez
Jan 16, 2013
Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP
We explore in detail the potential energy surfaces of the Al(x)Mg(y) (x, y = 1-4) systems as case studies to test the utility and limitations of simple rules based on electron counts and the phenomenological shell model (PSM) for bimetallic clusters. We find that it is feasible to design stable structures that are members of this set of small Al-Mg binary clusters, using simple electron count rules, including the classical 4n + 2 Hückel model, and the most recently proposed PSM. The thermodynamic stability of the title compounds has been evaluated using several different descriptors, including the fragmentation energies and the electronic structure of the systems. Three stable systems emerge from the analysis: the Al(4)Mg, Al(2)Mg(2) and Al(4)Mg(4) clusters. The relative stability of Al(4)Mg is explained by the stability of the Al(4)(2-) subunit to which the Mg atom donates its electrons. Here the Mg(2+) sits above the aromatic 10 π-electron Al(4)(2-) planar ring. The Al(2)Mg(2) and Al(4)Mg(4) clusters present more complicated 3D structures, and their stabilities are rationalized as a consequence of their closed shell nature in the PSM, with 10 and 20 itinerant electrons, respectively.