Group additivity-Pourbaix diagrams advocate thermodynamically stable nanoscale clusters in aqueous environments
The characterization of water-based corrosion, geochemical, environmental and catalytic processes rely on the accurate depiction of stable phases in a water environment. The process is aided by Pourbaix diagrams, which map the equilibrium solid and solution phases under varying conditions of pH and electrochemical potential. Recently, metastable or possibly stable nanometric aqueous clusters have been proposed as intermediate species in non-classical nucleation processes. Herein, we describe a Group Additivity approach to obtain Pourbaix diagrams with full consideration of multimeric cluster speciation from computations. Comparisons with existing titration results from experiments yield excellent agreement. Applying this Group Additivity-Pourbaix approach to Group 13 elements, we arrive at a quantitative evaluation of cluster stability, as a function of pH and concentration, and present compelling support for not only metastable but also thermodynamically stable multimeric clusters in aqueous solutions.