Analysis of Dihydrogen Bonding in Ammonium Borohydride
Journal article, 2019
The structural and vibrational properties of ammonium borohydride, NH4BH4, have been examined by first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations and inelastic neutron scattering (INS). The H disordered crystal structure of NH4BH4 is composed of the tetrahedral complex ions NH4+ and BH4-, which are arranged as in the fcc NaCl structure and linked by intermolecular dihydrogen bonding. Upon cooling, the INS spectra revealed a structural transition between 45 and 40 K. The reversible transition occurs upon heating between 46 and 49 K. In the low-temperature form reorientational dynamics are frozen. The libration modes for BH4- and NH4+ are near 300 and 200 cm(-1), respectively. Upon entering the fcc high-temperature form, NH4+ ions attain fast reorientational dynamics, as indicated in the disappearance of the NH4+ libration band, whereas BH4- ions become significantly mobile only at temperatures above 100 K. The vibrational behavior of BH4- ions in NH4BH4 compares well to the heavier alkali metal borohydrides, NaBH4-CsBH4. DFT calculations revealed a nondirectional nature of the dihydrogen bonding in NH4BH4 with only weak tendency for long-range order. Different rotational configurations of complex ions appear quasi-degenerate, which is reminiscent of glasses.