A Reaction Kinetic Model for Vacuum-Field Catalysis Based on Vibrational Light-Matter Coupling

07 August 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Since conventional catalysts are materials-based, they are effective only for particular chemical reactions. Recent studies suggest that vacuum-field catalysis (or cavity catalysis) based on vibrational light-matter coupling can boost reactions without the above constraint. Herein, we propose a reaction kinetic model for such vacuum-field-catalyzed reactions. Vibrational light-matter coupling is an interaction in which a molecular vibration and infrared (IR) vacuum field are coupled in resonance, consequently creating a pair of Rabi-split vibro-polaritonic states. Our kinetic model hypothesizes that vibrational light-matter coupling reshapes the reaction potential surface, thereby changing its reaction barrier height. We translate such a qualitative picture into two kinds of analytical equations derived from the Arrhenius and Eyring–Polanyi theories: both the equations are obtained as a function of the coupling ratio ΩR/2ω0 of vibro-polaritons (ΩR: Rabi frequency between a pair of vibro-polaritons, ω0: vibrational frequency of reactants), indicating that ΩR/2ω0 is a decisive quantity to define the catalytic activity of vacuum-field catalysis. Our numerical calculation shows that when ΩR/2ω0 ≥ 0.1, reactions may be accelerated by several orders of magnitude. Most importantly, our kinetic model can account well for rate enhancements ranging from ~100 to ~104 observed for vacuum-field-catalyzed reactions. We expect that our findings will bring fresh perspectives not only to chemistry but also to the broad fields of science and technology.


Reaction Kinetic Model
Vacuum-Field Catalysis
Vibrational Ultra Strong Coupling
Cavity Catalysis

Supplementary weblinks


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.