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J Chem Phys. 2013 Mar 14;138(10):104313. doi: 10.1063/1.4793745.

Nuclear spin-spin coupling in a van der Waals-bonded system: xenon dimer.

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NMR Research Group, Department of Physics, P.O. Box 3000, FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Finland.


Nuclear spin-spin coupling over van der Waals bond has recently been observed via the frequency shift of solute protons in a solution containing optically hyperpolarized (129)Xe nuclei. We carry out a first-principles computational study of the prototypic van der Waals-bonded xenon dimer, where the spin-spin coupling between two magnetically non-equivalent isotopes, J((129)Xe - (131)Xe), is observable. We use relativistic theory at the four-component Dirac-Hartree-Fock and Dirac-density-functional theory levels using novel completeness-optimized Gaussian basis sets and choosing the functional based on a comparison with correlated ab initio methods at the nonrelativistic level. J-coupling curves are provided at different levels of theory as functions of the internuclear distance in the xenon dimer, demonstrating cross-coupling effects between relativity and electron correlation for this property. Calculations on small Xe clusters are used to estimate the importance of many-atom effects on J((129)Xe - (131)Xe). Possibilities of observing J((129)Xe - (131)Xe) in liquid xenon are critically examined, based on molecular dynamics simulation. A simplistic spherical model is set up for the xenon dimer confined in a cavity, such as in microporous materials. It is shown that the on the average shorter internuclear distance enforced by the confinement increases the magnitude of the coupling as compared to the bulk liquid case, rendering J((129)Xe - (131)Xe) in a cavity a feasible target for experimental investigation.


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