Document Detail

The Ehrenfest force field: Topology and consequences for the definition of an atom in a molecule.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23039579     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The Ehrenfest force is the force acting on the electrons in a molecule due to the presence of the other electrons and the nuclei. There is an associated force field in three-dimensional space that is obtained by the integration of the corresponding Hermitian quantum force operator over the spin coordinates of all of the electrons and the space coordinates of all of the electrons but one. This paper analyzes the topology induced by this vector field and its consequences for the definition of molecular structure and of an atom in a molecule. Its phase portrait reveals: that the nuclei are attractors of the Ehrenfest force, the existence of separatrices yielding a dense partitioning of three-dimensional space into disjoint regions, and field lines connecting the attractors through these separatrices. From the numerical point of view, when the Ehrenfest force field is obtained as minus the divergence of the kinetic stress tensor, the induced topology was found to be highly sensitive to choice of Gaussian basis sets at long range. Even the use of large split valence and highly uncontracted basis sets can yield spurious critical points that may alter the number of attraction basins. Nevertheless, at short distances from the nuclei, in general, the partitioning of three-dimensional space with the Ehrenfest force field coincides with that induced by the gradient field of the electron density. However, exceptions are found in molecules where the electron density yields results in conflict with chemical intuition. In these cases, the molecular graphs of the Ehrenfest force field reveal the expected atomic connectivities. This discrepancy between the definition of an atom in a molecule between the two vector fields casts some doubts on the physical meaning of the integration of Ehrenfest forces over the basins of the electron density.
A Martín Pendás; J Hernández-Trujillo
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Publication Detail:
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of chemical physics     Volume:  137     ISSN:  1089-7690     ISO Abbreviation:  J Chem Phys     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-8     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0375360     Medline TA:  J Chem Phys     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  134101     Citation Subset:  -    
Departamento de Química Física y Análtica, Facultad de Química, Universidad de Oviedo, 33006 Oviedo, Spain.
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