Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile of Rene Corrales

Rene Corrales

Associate Professor

Email: lrcorral@email.arizona.edu
Building: OC 206
Phone: 520-784-9179


  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 1989-1991
  • University of California President's Dissertation Fellow, 1987-1988
  • University of California, San Diego Fellow, 1986-1987

Education and Appointments

  • B.S. 1982, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. 1988, The University of California, San Diego
  • Postdoctoral Fellow 1989-1991, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Scientist 1991-1999, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Chief Scientist 1999-2006, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Research Interests

  • Physical
  • "Theory, Modeling, and Simulation"
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemical Reaction Dynamics/Kinetics/Interactions
  • Energy Science
  • Materials and Polymer Chemistry
  • Surfaces and Solid State

Research Summary

Emphasis in my theoretical materials chemistry research is in the study of the role of interfaces in the absorption and transfer of solutes from one phase to the other with a particular interest in liquid-liquid partitioning of solutes and the solubility and assembly of solutes in liquid mixtures. Interfacial structure and dynamics of liquid-vapor and liquid-liquid systems of alkane and aqueous mixtures are studied using numerical statistical mechanical methods. Projects of interest include the solubility and assembly of dipolar and hydrogen bonding molecules in mixtures of liquid ethane, methane and propane relevant to the alkane lakes of Saturn's moon Titan; and characterization of the mechanisms that control transfer of heavy metal chelates across aqueous-alkane interfaces.

Underpinning the theoretical materials chemistry toolbox are mathematical models and computational tools used to determine relationships between atomic (or molecular) level structures and their physical and chemical properties. My research methodologies employ classical and quantum statistical mechanics with an emphasis in numerical statistical mechanics based on molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo atomistic computer simulations, and computational chemistry methods to support model building efforts.

Visit UA Chemical Physics Program!

Current topics in Materials Chemistry include structure and dynamics of alkane-vapor and alkane-aqueous interfaces, solubility and assembly of dipolar and H-bonding molecules in alkanes, separation and isolation of heavy metal complex, and defects on silicate surfaces.

Correlation of calculated excited-state energies and experimental quantum yields of luminescent Tb(III) beta-diketonates

J. Phys. Chem. A, 112, 4527, (2008) http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp8002799

This work performed in collaboration with Channa R. De Silva, Jun Li, and Zhiping Zheng

Theoretical calculations employing time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) are used to characterize the excited states of Tb(III) beta-diketonate complexes. Calculated results are compared directly with experimental results that together show a correlation between relative quantum yields and the excited-state energies that depend on the electronic properties of the p,p'-substituent group associated with the coordinating N-donor neutral ligand. It is found that changes in the electron donating nature of the neutral ligand structure lead to shifts in the lowest triplet energy level of the complex that consequently change the relative quantum yield. This work provides critical direction for the synthesis of high quantum yield terbium complexes.

Electron, hole and exciton self-trapping in germanium doped silica glass from DFT calculations with self-interaction correction

Nucl. Inst. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 255, 188, (2007) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nimb.2006.11.066

This work performed at PNNL in collaboration with Jincheng Du, Kiril Tsemekhman, and Eric J. Bylaska

Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were employed to understand the refractive index change in germanium doped silica glasses for the trapped states of electronic excitations induced by UV irradiation. Local structure relaxation and excess electron density distribution were calculated upon self-trapping of an excess electron, hole, and exciton in germanium doped silica glass. The results show that both the trapped exciton and excess electron are highly localized on germanium ion and, to some extent, on its oxygen neighbors. Exciton self-trapping is found to lead to the formation of a Ge E' center and a non-bridging hole center. Electron trapping changes the GeO4 tetrahedron structure into trigonal bi-pyramid with the majority of the excess electron density located along the equatorial line. The self-trapped hole is localized on bridging oxygen ions that are not coordinated to germanium atoms that lead to elongation of the Si-O bonds and change of the Si-O-Si bond angles. We carried out a comparative study of standard DFT versus DFT with a hybrid PBE0 exchange and correlation functional. The results show that the two methods give qualitatively similar relaxed structure and charge distribution for electron and exciton trapping in germanium doped silica glass; however, only the PBE0 functional produces the self-trapped hole.

Molecular Mechanisms of Hydrogen-Loaded beta-Hydroquinone Clathrate

J. Phys. Chem. B, 110, 17291, (2006) http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp062691c

This work performed at PNNL in collaboration with John Daschbach, Tsun-Mei Chang (U. Wisconsin - Parkside), Liem Dang, and Pete McGrail

Molecular dynamics simulations are used to investigate the molecular interactions of hydrogen-loaded beta-hydroquinone clathrate. It is found that, at lower temperatures, higher loadings are more stable, whereas at higher temperatures, lower loadings are more stable. Attractive forces between the guest and host molecules lead to a stabilized minimum-energy configuration at low temperatures. At higher temperatures, greater displacements take the system away from the shallow energy minimum, and the trend reverses. The nature of the cavity structure is nearly spherical for a loading of one, leads to preferential occupation near the hydroxyl ring crowns of the cavity with a loading of two, and at higher loadings, leads to occupation of the interstitial sites (the hydroxyl rings) between cages by a single H2 molecule with the remaining molecules occupying the equatorial plane of the cavity. Occupation of the interstitial positions of the cavities leads to facile diffusion.

A system loaded with a single H2 per cage behaves like a molecule solvated in a nonpolar solvent interacting weakly with the cages structure as a nearly spherical potential. However, with increased loading, the asymmetrical nature of the cage is revealed where the H2-H2 repulsion is sufficient to localize the H2 positions at low temperature. At high loadings of three and four H2 per cage, there is a preference of having one H2 located at the interstitial position. The presence of binding sites along the equator of the cage leads to a corrugation that is observed for high loadings of three and four H2 per cage at 20 K H2. Finally, it is found that diffusive transport along the channel generally proceeds via a flipping, or swapping, mechanism that involves the interstitial position composed of the hydroxyl hydrogen-bonded ring. In the three and four H2 per cage systems, a molecule in the interstitial position is always present resulting in enhanced diffusion.

Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that it should be possible to load H2 into the beta-hydroquinone clathrate structure, possibly by loading the metastable empty structure at low temperature. The channel structure of the beta-hydroquinone clathrate results in facile diffusion along one axis at sufficiently high temperature. This channeled structure, a feature of many organic clathrates, is attractive for a material used to reversibly store H2. It is reasonable to think that with the ability to design organic clathrates with chemical constitutes other than aromatic carbon systems may be found which provide reversible H2 storage under mild conditions.

Characterization of exciton self-trapping in amorphous silica

J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 352, 2589 (2006) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2006.01.095

This work performed at PNNL in collaboration with Renée M. Van Ginhoven1,2 and Hannes Jonsson1,3

1Department of Chemistry, University of Washington
2Currently at Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM
3Science Institute, University of Iceland

Triplet electron–hole excitations were introduced into amorphous silica to study self-trapping (localization) and damage formation using density functional theory. Multiple self-trapped exciton (STE) states are found that can be differentiated based on the luminescence energy, the localization and distribution of the excess spin density of the triplet state, and relevant structural data, including the presence or absence of broken bonds. The trapping is shown to be affected by the relaxation response of the silica network, and by comparing results of quartz and amorphous silica systems the effects of the inherent disordered structures on exciton self-trapping are revealed. A key result is that the process of exciton trapping can lead directly to the formation of point defects, without thermal activation. The proposed mechanism includes a non-radiative decay from the excited to the ground state followed by structure relaxation to a defect configuration in the ground state.

Fig. (a) The structure of the thermally induced exciton for glass G2. The yellow spheres represent silicon atoms, and oxygen atoms are red. The green cloud indicates an isosurface of the excess spin density corresponding to the excited electron, and the dark blue cloud indicates the location of the hole. The exciton is localized at a broken bond, with an Si–O distance of 3.21 Å. The distance between the dangling oxygen atom and the nearby oxygen atom that shares the hole is 2.33 Å. (b)–(d) Structural rearrangement seen in glass G2 as a result of the action of the thermally induced exciton. (b) The initial optimized singlet state structure. (c) The thermally annealed triplet state STE structure. One Si–O bond is broken. After de-excitation back to the singlet state, atoms move to form the metastable structure seen in (d). The oxygen atoms that are bonded to different silicon atoms than in the defect-free glass are shown in black. The cut-out region shows that the new structure has a 5-fold silicon, 3-ring (on the left), and a 3-fold oxygen and edge-sharing tetrahedra (on the right). The over-coordinated silicon and oxygen atoms are 6.3 Å apart. This structure is 1.2 eV higher in energy than the defect-free structure.

Selected Publications

  • J. C. Du, L. R. Corrales, K. Tsemekhman, E. J. Bylaska, "Electron, hole and exciton self-trapping in germanium doped silica glass from DFT calculations with self-interaction correction", Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 255, 188-194 (2007).

  • J. C. Du, L. R. Corrales, "Erbium implantation in silica studied by molecular dynamics simulations", Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 255, 177-182 (2007).

  • J. C. Du, L. R. Corrales, "Understanding lanthanum aluminate glass structure by correlating molecular dynamics simulation results with neutron and X-ray scattering data", J. Non-Cryst. Solids. 353, 210-214 (2007).

  • C. R. De Silva, J. Li, Z. Zheng, L. R. Corrales, "Correlation of calculated excited-state energies and experimental quantum yields of luminescent Tb(III) beta-diketonates", J. Phys. Chem. A, 112, 4527-4530 (2008).

  • J. C. Du, C. J. Benmore, L. R. Corrales, R. T. Hart, J. R. Weber, "A molecular dynamics simulation interpretation of neutron and X-ray diffraction measurements on single phase Y2O3 - Al2O3 glasses", J. Phys: Condens. Matter 21, 205102 (2009).

  • C. R. De Silva, J. D. Musgraves, Z. Schneider, B. G. Potter, T. J. Boyle, K. Simmons-Potter and L. R. Corrales, "Intrinsic Electronic Transitions of the Absorption Spectrum of (OPy)2Ti(TAP)2: Implications Toward Photostructural Modifications", J. Phys. Chem. A, (2009). http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp9016008

  • L. R. Corrales, E. Moore, "Laser modification of silica: simulation pulse shape and length", Nucl. Inst. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 267, 3025 (2009).

  • J. Du, R. Devanathan, L.R. Corrales, W.J. Weber, "First principles calculations of the electronic structure, phase transition and properties of ZrSiO4 polymorphs", Comp. Theo. Chem. (2011) (available online)

  • E. Moore, L.R. Corrales, T. Desai, R. Devanathan, "Molecular dynamics simulation of of Xe bubble nucleation in nanoscrystalline UO2 nuclear fuel", J. Nucl. Mat. (2011).

  • J. Rimsza, L.R. Corrales, "Adsorption of copper and copper oxide in the deep eutectic solvent 2 urea: 1 choline chloride", Comp. Theo. Chem. (2011).

  • B.L. Mooney, L.R. Corrales, A.U. Clark, "MoleculerRnetworks: An integrated graph theoretic and data mining tool to explore solvent organization in molecular simulation", J. Comp. Chem. (online Jan 2012) DOI: 10.1002/jcc.22917. Featured C&E News Volume 90, Issue 6, Feb. 6, (2012) p. 31, Concentrates.

  • B.L. Mooney, A.U. Clark, L.R. Corrales, "R-Polyhedral Analyses of Solvation of Cations in Water", J. Phys. Chem. (in press 2012)