Structure and stability of small boron and boron oxide clusters

Michael L. Drummond, Vincent Meunier, Bobby G. Sumptei

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67 Scopus citations


To rationally design and explore a potential energy source based on the highly exothermic oxidation of boron, density functional theory (DFT) was used to characterize small boron clusters with 0-3 oxygen atoms and a total of up to ten atoms. The structures, vibrational frequencies, and stabilities were calculated for each of these clusters. A quantum molecular dynamics procedure was used to locate the global minimum for each species, which proved to be crucial given the unintuitive structure of many of the most stable isomers. Additionally, due to the plane-wave, periodic DFT code used in this study a straightforward comparison of these clusters to the bulk boron and B 2O 3 structures was possible despite the great structural and energetic differences between the two forms. Through evaluation of previous computational and experimental work, the relevant low-energy structures of all but one of the pure boron clusters can be assigned with great certainty. Nearly all of the boron oxide clusters are described here for the first time, but there are strong indications that the DFT procedure chosen is particularly well suited for the task. Insight into the trends in boron and boron oxide cluster stabilities, as well as the ultimate limits of growth for each, are also provided. The work reported herein provides crucial information towards understanding the oxidation of boron at a molecular level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6539-6551
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 19 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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