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J Phys Chem A. 2007 Mar 8;111(9):1667-76. Epub 2007 Feb 9.

Calculations of the optical spectra of hydrocarbon radical cations based on Koopmans' theorem.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, 1101 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706-1396, USA.


The first few bands in the optical spectra of radical cations can often be interpreted in terms of A-type transitions that involve electron promotions from doubly occupied to the singly occupied molecular orbital (SOMO) and/or B-type transition which involve electron promotion from the SOMO to virtual molecular orbitals. We had previously demonstrated that, by making use of Koopmans' theorem, the energies of A-type transitions can be related to orbital energy differences between lower occupied MOs and the highest occupied MO (HOMO) in the neutral molecule, calculated at the geometry of the radical cation. We now propose that the energies of B-type transitions can be related similarly to energy differences between the lowest unoccupied MO (LUMO) and higher virtual MOs in the dication, also calculated at the geometry of the radical cation, by way of an extension of Koopmans' theorem to virtual MOs similar to that used sometimes to model resonances in electron scattering experiments. The optical spectra of the radical cations of several polyenes and aromatic compounds, the matrix spectra of which are known (or presented here for the first time), and for which CASSCF/CASPT2 calculations are available, are discussed in terms of these Koopmans-based models. Then the spectra of five poly(bicycloalkyl)-protected systems and that of hexabenzocoronene, compounds not amenable to higher level calculations, are examined and it is found that the Koopmans-type calculations allow a satisfactory interpretation of most of the features in these spectra. These simple calculations therefore provide a computationally inexpensive yet effective way to assign optical transitions in radical ions. Limitations of the model are discussed.

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