Taming The Third Order Cumulant Approximation to Linear Optical Spectroscopy

07 February 2024, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The second order cumulant method offers a promising pathway to predicting optical properties in condensed phase systems. It allows for the computation of linear absorption spectra from excitation energy fluctuations sampled along molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories, fully accounting for vibronic effects, direct solute-solvent interactions, and environmental polarization effects. However, the second order cumulant approximation only guarantees accurate lineshapes for energy gap fluctuations obeying Gaussian statistics. A third order correction has been derived recently [J. Chem. Phys. {151}, 074111 (2019)], but often yields unphysical spectra or divergent lineshapes for moderately non-Gaussian fluctuations, due to the neglect of higher order terms in the cumulant expansion. In this work, we develop a corrected cumulant approach, where the collective effect of neglected higher order contributions is approximately accounted for through a dampening factor applied to the third order cumulant term. We show that this dampening factor can be expressed as a function of the skewness and kurtosis of the energy gap fluctuations and can be parameterized from a large set of randomly sampled model Hamiltonians for which exact spectral lineshapes are known. The approach is shown to systematically remove unphysical contributions in the form of negative absorbances from cumulant spectra in both model Hamiltonians and condensed phase systems sampled from MD, and dramatically improves over the second order cumulant method in describing systems exhibiting Duschinsky mode mixing effects. We successfully apply the approach to the coumarin-153 dye in toluene, obtaining an


Third order cumulant
Linear response
Generalized brownian oscillator model

Supplementary materials

SI for "Taming The Third Order Cumulant Approximation to Linear Optical Spectroscopy"
This document contains the second and third order cumulant contributions for GBOM Hamiltonians and an analysis of their stability. Model parameters for systems displayed in the text are listed as well. This document also outlines how statistical sampling across model and molecular systems was conducted.

Supplementary weblinks


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