H2O-HCN complex: A new potential energy surface and intermolecular rovibrational states from rigorous quantum calculations

25 August 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


In this work the H2O-HCN complex is quantitatively characterized in two ways. First, we report a new rigid-monomer 5D intermolecular potential energy surface (PES) for this complex, calculated using the SAPT(DFT) method. The PES is based on 2833 ab initio points computed employing the aug-cc-pVQZ basis set, utilizing the autoPES code, which provides a site-site analytical fit with the long-range region given by perturbation theory. Next, we present the results of the quantum 5D calculations of the fully coupled intermolecular rovibrational states of the H2O-HCN complex for the total angular momentum J values of 0, 1, and 2, performed on the new PES. These calculations rely on the quantum bound-state methodology developed by us recently and applied to a variety of noncovalently bound binary molecular complexes. The vibrationally averaged ground-state geometry of H2O-HCN determined from the quantum 5D calculations agrees very well with that from the microwave spectroscopic measurements. In addition, the computed ground-state rotational transition frequencies, as well as the B and C rotational constants calculated for the ground state of the complex, are in excellent agreement with the experimental values. The assignment of the calculated intermolecular vibrational states of the H2O-HCN complex is surprisingly challenging. It turns out that only the excitations of the intermolecular stretch mode can be assigned with confidence. The coupling among the angular degrees of freedom (DOFs) of the complex is unusually strong, and as a result most of the excited intermolecular states are unassigned. On the other hand, the coupling of the radial, intermolecular stretch mode and the angular DOFs is weak, allowing straightforward assignment of the excitation of the former.


Rotational excitation
Vibrational states
Potential Energy Surfaces
Quantum Molecular Calculations
Van der Waals interacions
Interstellar medium


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