Questions tagged [theoretical-chemistry]

For questions seeking answers deduced from or composed of theories regarding the chemical substances and about models and methods of theoretical chemistry.

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211
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3answers
28k views

Why is gold golden?

Bulk gold has a very characteristic warm yellow shine to it, whereas almost all other metals have a grey or silvery color. Where does this come from? I have heard that this property arises from ...
106
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1answer
4k views

Is there a general consensus on the causes of the alpha-effect?

There have been various explanations posited for the α-effect. The α-effect refers to a phenomenon wherein nucleophiles with lone pairs on atoms adjacent (i.e., in the α- position) to the atom bearing ...
73
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4answers
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Bonding in diatomic C2, a carbon-carbon quadruple bond?

Carbon is well known to form single, double, and triple $\ce{C-C}$ bonds in compounds. There is a recent report (2012) that carbon forms a quadruple bond in diatomic carbon, $\ce{C2}$. The excerpt ...
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6answers
10k views

Why is FORTRAN so commonly used in computational chemistry?

I've been using Ruby to write scripts for research, but I want to get into some heavier stuff that Ruby is just too slow for. I noticed there are a few things written in C and C++, but there is an ...
35
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2answers
18k views

How can the dipole moment of carbon monoxide be rationalised by molecular orbital theory?

Despite the fact that oxygen is much more electronegative than carbon, the bond in $\ce{CO}$ presents a weak dipole moment. This observation can easily be explained using the concept of "dative bond", ...
34
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1answer
4k views

Natural Bond Orbital analysis: Significance of stabilization energy determined by 2nd order perturbation

PREFACE: I am no expert on this topic. My questions at the bottom may be off base. I have some experience with symmetry-adapted perturbation theory (SAPT) when it comes to analyzing intermolecular ...
33
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3answers
20k views

What is actually the difference between valence bond theory and molecular orbital theory?

Recently I have read about both of the concepts in my book (Physical Chemistry by Atkins, Paula). It was literally a reading; though I could understand the language and superposition of orbitals, ...
33
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2answers
3k views

Hypervalency and the octet rule

I realize that the octet rule is more a suggestion than a rule, and that it applies mainly to non-transition metal compounds. Still, compounds that don't have an octet, like $\ce{BH3}$, tend to ...
32
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1answer
7k views

When is it true that more nodes equals higher energy?

Consider all the MOs of some isolated molecule. (It could be a single atom too; I'll use MO to refer to AOs as well.) Number them in increasing order of the number of nodes (node = surface where the ...
32
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1answer
3k views

What would follow in the series sigma, pi and delta bonds?

I realise, that this question is a stretch, but I was wondering, how would a bonding orbital be called if it was formed from two $f_{x(x^2−3y^2)}$ or $f_{y(3x^2−y^2)}$ orbitals. Have there been any ...
31
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2answers
9k views

Is density functional theory an ab initio method?

The following comment by Wildcat made me think about whether density functional theory (DFT) can be considered an ab initio method. @Martin-マーチン, this is sort of nitpicking, but DFT (where the last ...
30
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2answers
4k views

What is the exchange interaction?

As the wikipedia article for the exchange interaction so aptly notes, exchange "has no classical analogue." How wonderful. Exchange shows up essentially while enforcing the condition that two ...
29
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4answers
2k views

How many molecules does it take to have a phase?

A single molecule can't be solid, liquid or gas. It's just a molecule. A mole of something can be any of the three. So, how many molecules does it take for phases to be meaningful? I realize that ...
28
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2answers
2k views

Ripping apart plastic: is this a chemical or physical change?

I was holding a piece of plastic earlier, and I ripped it in half. This caused me to start to think about what was happening at the atomic level. If the plastic is being ripped, clearly bonds are ...
28
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1answer
3k views

Suggest methods and basis sets for a variety of systems

Please help me with any/all of the cases below. In the following cases, the named method and basis set are not suitable for the chemical systems. Why aren't they? Could you suggest a suitable method/...
28
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3answers
880 views

What's a minimal yet chemically-meaningful kinetic system for an oscillating reaction?

Oscillating reactions are a funny aspect of chemistry. I have tried to find various simplified kinetic models of oscillating reactions such as the Belouzov-Zhabotinsky, the Briggs–Rauscher or the Bray–...
26
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2answers
2k views

How should I go about picking a functional for DFT calculations?

I've been looking to use time-dependent density functional theory, but reading the literature I keep getting overwhelmed by how many different functionals there are. How should I go about selecting ...
26
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1answer
20k views

What is the pKa of the hydronium, or oxonium, ion (H3O+)?

Although the wikipedia page on Hydronium indicates a $\mathrm{p}K_\text{a}$ of −1.74, I noticed in the discussion of this page that the subject seems debated (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:...
26
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1answer
3k views

What is the justification for Hückel's rule?

I know that experimentally, the rule has been verified but I am having trouble understanding why it works. I see no reason why equivalent cyclic structures can undergo resonance and be just as stable. ...
25
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6answers
52k views

Overlap between computer science and chemistry?

This isn't particularly a question about chemistry itself, but more-so the prospect of chemistry. What kind of opportunities arise when you overlap chemistry and computer science? I'm a computer ...
25
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3answers
1k views

A comprehensive list of theoretical approximations that are used in computational chemistry

I am having trouble recognizing all the approximations that are used in computational chemistry. I would like to start an answer list (similar as to the list of resources for learning chemistry) that ...
24
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1answer
7k views

What is the difference between dynamic and static electronic correlation

I am confused. In the static correlation, we use combination of Slater determinants to account for electronic correlation (known as CI or configuration interaction) and the wave function is ...
23
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2answers
3k views

How to find the second order perturbation to wave function?

Today, I'm looking for how to find the 2nd perturbation to the base in Rayleigh Schrödinger Perturbation Theory (RSPT). SETUP Starting from the 2nd order perturbation in Dirac's notation: \begin{...
22
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3answers
2k views

What is natural bond orbital theory used for?

My understanding is that the NBO methodology transforms the molecular orbital picture of a molecule into a collection of pairwise interactions (bond orbitals). This is obviously handy for didactic and ...
22
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2answers
5k views

PBP vs TBP geometry?

Why are the axial bond lengths greater than those of the equatorial bonds in a trigonal bi-pyramid (TBP) geometry molecule; but the opposite is true for pentagonal bi-pyramid (PBP) geometry molecules? ...
22
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1answer
7k views

What does “reaction coordinate” mean? What does it mean when a reaction has TWO reaction coordinates?

I'm familiar with the concept of a reaction coordinate from high school chemistry as some generic conformational parameter that all of the intermediate states of a chemical reaction lie upon. Recently,...
22
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2answers
10k views

Is Hydrogen Bonding a Type of Dipole Dipole Interaction?

I understand that dipole dipole forces is due to the attraction of the different partials charges of atoms in different molecules due to their different electro-negativities. For hydrogen bonding, ...
21
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5answers
3k views

Why do some chemical reactions require many steps?

I posted the following question in Physics SE and was advised to transfer it to Chemistry SE. I studied physics in college ten years ago and I recently started to learn biochemistry. I enjoy finding ...
21
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3answers
2k views

What is charge shift bonding?

Can someone explain to me charge shift bonding? I recognize that it is proposed as another domain of bonding - one different from ionic and covalent bonding. I am also told that $\ce{C-F}$ exhibits ...
21
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3answers
1k views

Group theoretical condition for an integral to be zero

In many aspects of chemistry it is of interest to find out whether a given integral $\int \psi \,\mathrm{d}\tau$ vanishes, i.e. becomes zero. Group theory provides us with a handy condition: If $\...
21
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1answer
29k views

What's the difference between PBE and B3LYP methods?

I can't find an answer to that question. I was told that in B3LYP, more variables implemented in the method are empirical, but I can't find anywhere if it's true, and I'm sure it's not the only ...
20
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2answers
5k views

For a given element do heavier isotopes form stronger bonds than lighter isotopes?

I know that $\ce{C-D}$ and $\ce{C-T}$ bonds are stronger than $\ce{C-H}$ bonds, but is this generally true for isotopes of all elements? (By isotopes I mean stable ones with large half lives.)
20
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1answer
516 views

What are modern approaches to describe and/or quantify aromaticity?

I know that Schleyer described an approach for evaluating aromaticity using nucleus-independent chemical shifts (NICS, see e.g. Chem. Rev. 2005, 105 (10), 3842–3888) quite some time back. I also ...
20
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1answer
237 views

Similarities and Differences between Resonance and MCSCF treatments

Recently, there has been a question by Voldemort concerning different resonance structures of $\ce{NCO-}$, requesting an explanation why one resonance structure would be more preferred than another. ...
20
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1answer
448 views

Can a multi-species system oscillate around equilibrium?

In reading about chemical oscillations such as those that occur in the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction (BZ), it's often reported that these reactions were initially not taken seriously, because of a ...
19
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5answers
1k views

Is it true that all of the physical laws and mathematics needed to describe chemistry are known?

This question comes from a rather famous quote by Paul Dirac which goes like this, The underlying physical laws necessary for the mathematical theory of a large part of physics and the whole of ...
19
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2answers
3k views

Cyclobutadiene - Jahn–Teller effect or not?

In transition metal chemistry the Jahn–Teller effect arises when the configuration of the metal ion and d orbital splitting set up a doubly degenerate state, which is less stable than a state without ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Is it correct to talk about an empty orbital?

Professor A. J. Kirby mentions: The properties of an orbital are those of an electron contained in it. It is normal practice, illogical though it may sound, to talk of 'vacant orbitals'.The ...
18
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1answer
2k views

What exactly is meant by 'multi-configurational' and 'multireference'?

Some topics here have touched on this before (see 1, 2, 3), but I haven't found a clear definition yet. I would like to know what exact property of the wave function these terms refer to. It would ...
18
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1answer
614 views

What is the relation between surface tension and initial molecular harmonic?

Initial harmonic is measured as Hartree/Bohr^2 ( like IHarmonic=n in Gaussian Software ). As I am from physics background I am used to look at features from their dimension point of view: Actually ...
18
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1answer
599 views

Analytical solution of the Schrödinger Equation for AB^+ systems

According to Wikipedia, there are not many problems for which the Schrödinger equation can be solved analytically. [1] The $\ce{H2+}$ ion is probably the most complex molecule that can be treated this ...
17
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2answers
3k views

Protons and the Heisenberg principle

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle implies that it is not possible to calculate the position and velocity of a body at the same time accurately. Electrons follow this principle since their orbitals ...
17
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1answer
421 views

Are chiral quasicrystals possible?

Quasicrystals are materials that have long-range atomic order but lack the translational symmetry of conventional crystals. All quasicrystalline tilings and packings I have read about thus far, whilst ...
17
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1answer
3k views

Definitions of autocatalysis

Is there a formal definition or algorithm that can take a list of reactions and tell me whether it contains a set of species that can produce itself autocatalytically? It is clear that the following ...
17
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4answers
38k views

Why is the bond order of CO+ 3.5?

According to my books the bond order of $\ce{CO+}$ is $3.5$. But shouldn't it be $2.5$? On googling this, I found the following answer that is on Stack Exchange but its only talks about the bond ...
16
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2answers
978 views

How to compute 2-electron integral for Hartree-Fock code?

I'm working on writing my own code for $\ce{H2}$ in an STO-3G basis set using Hartree-Fock (HF), and I am currently stuck on how to construct the two-electron integral matrix. I know how to evaluate ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Are there any full worked examples of DFT calculations?

I just started learning DFT and now I am totally confused. Assuming I want to use B3LYP: \begin{align} v_s\left(\textbf{r}\right) &= v_\text{ext}\left(\textbf{r}\right) + \int d^3r\frac{n\left( \...
16
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1answer
929 views

Hellmann-Feynman Forces with Hartree-Fock

The energy in the Hartree-Fock approximation is given as: $$E_{HF}=\left<\psi_{HF} \left| \hat{H} \right| \psi_{HF} \right>=\sum_{i,j}P_{i,j}H_{i,j}^{core}+\frac{1}{2}\sum_{i,j,k,l}P_{i,j}P_{l,...
15
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2answers
2k views

What are typical runtimes for CASSCF calculations?

I'm doing single point energy calculations of FeS using ORCA. I originally used DFT with a variety of functionals, and these calculations all took less than a minute. Now I'm attempting to run CASSCF ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Born–Oppenheimer adiabaticity

The Born–Oppenheimer aproximation is said to be adiabatic. What does "adiabatic" mean? What would be a non-adiabatic approximation to the Schrödinger equation?

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