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J Chem Phys. 2006 Aug 14;125(6):64104.

Using a family of dividing surfaces normal to the minimum energy path for quantum instanton rate constants.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California 54720, USA.


One of the outstanding issues in the quantum instanton (QI) theory (or any transition-state-type theory) for thermal rate constants of chemical reactions is the choice of an appropriate "dividing surface" (DS) that separates reactants and products. (In the general version of the QI theory, there are actually two dividing surfaces involved.) This paper shows one simple and general way for choosing DSs for use in QI theory, namely, using the family of (hyper) planes normal to the minimum energy path on the potential energy surface at various distances s along it. Here the reaction coordinate is not one of the dynamical coordinates of the system (which will in general be the Cartesian coordinates of the atoms), but rather simply a parameter which specifies the DS. It is also shown how this idea can be implemented for an N atom system in three-dimensional space in a way that preserves overall translational and rotational invariance. Numerical application to a simple system (the collinear H+H(2) reaction) is presented to illustrate the procedure.

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