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A canonical perspective on the chemical bond is the Pauling paradigm: a bond in a molecule containing only identical atoms has no ionic character. However, we show that homonuclear silver clusters have very uneven charge distributions (for example, the C2v structure of Ag4 has a larger dipole moment than formaldehyde or acetone), and we show how to predict the charge distribution from coordination numbers and Hirshfeld charges. The new charge model is validated against Kohn-Sham calculations of dipole moments with four approximations for the exchange-correlation functional. We report Kohn-Sham studies of the binding energies of CO on silver monomer and silver clusters containing 2-18 atoms. We also find that an accurate charge model is essential for understanding the site dependence of binding. In particular we find that atoms with more positive charges tend to have higher binding energies, which can be used for guidance in catalyst modeling and design. Thus, the nonuniform charge distribution of silver clusters predisposes the site preference of binding of carbon monoxide, and we conclude that nonuniform charge distributions are an important property for understanding binding of metal nanoparticles in general.
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© 2014 American Chemical Society.