Anisotropic Interfacial Force Field for Interfaces of Water with Hexagonal Boron Nitride

ZC Feng and ZK Lei and YP Yao and JX Liu and BZ Wu and WE Ouyang, LANGMUIR, 39, 18198-18207 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.3c01612

This study introduces an anisotropic interfacial potential that provides an accurate description of the van der Waals (vdW) interactions between water and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) at their interface. Benchmarked against the strongly constrained and appropriately normed functional, the developed force field demonstrates remarkable consistency with reference data sets, including binding energy curves and sliding potential energy surfaces for various configurations involving a water molecule adsorbed atop the h-BN surface. These findings highlight the significant improvement achieved by the developed force field in empirically describing the anisotropic vdW interactions of the water/h-BN heterointerfaces. Utilizing this anisotropic force field, molecular dynamics simulations demonstrate that atomically flat, pristine h-BN exhibits inherent hydrophobicity. However, when atomic- step surface roughness is introduced, the wettability of h-BN undergoes a significant change, leading to a hydrophilic nature. The calculated water contact angle (WCA) for the roughened h-BN surface is approximately 64 degrees, which closely aligns with experimental WCA values ranging from 52 degrees to 67 degrees. These findings indicate the high probability of the presence of atomic steps on the surfaces of the experimental h-BN samples, emphasizing the need for further experimental verification. The development of the anisotropic interfacial force field for accurately describing interactions at the water/h-BN heterointerfaces is a significant advancement in accurately simulating the wettability of two-dimensional (2D) materials, offering a reliable tool for studying the dynamic and transport properties of water at these interfaces, with implications for materials science and nanotechnology.

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