In a course I am following, we are analyzing the potential wells in molecular absorption spectroscopy.
For molecules with more than one normal mode, we can study the potential wells involved in transitions for each mode and apply the Franck-Condon principle to determine the intensity of each possible electronic and vibrational transition. In these transitions, some of them will not change the geometry of the molecular equilibrium geometry, others will. This leads to think about how the transition change the point group symmetry of that molecule.
Here comes my question: my teacher said that
modes that are non totally symmetric wont maintain the symmetry of the molecule and therefore the potential wells associated with the electronic ground state and excited state will be one just above the other, with the same equilibrium position and just an increase in energy, while totally symmetric modes won't have this property.
I can't understand why this is true, if there are approximations underlying it and also I can't find any reference for it.
This has been used, later, to distinguish between totally symmetric and non totally symmetric modes in the expression of the transition dipole moment, because for wells not one above the other (totally symmetric) we need to calculate a superposition integral between the two vibrational states, while for totally symmetric modes we know it can be written as a Kronecker delta.