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Release66:Electron Transfer

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The NWChem electron transfer (ET) module calculates the electronic coupling energy (also called the electron transfer matrix element) between ET reactant and product states. The electronic coupling (VRP), activation energy (ΔG * ), and nuclear reorganization energy (λ) are all components of the electron transfer rate defined by Marcus' theory, which also depends on the temperature (see Reference 1 below):

{k_{ET}}= \frac{2\pi}{\hbar} V_{RP}^{2} \frac{1}{\sqrt{4\pi \lambda k_{B}T}} \exp \left( \frac{- \Delta G^{*}}{k_{B} T} \right)

The ET module utilizes the method of Corresponding Orbital Transformation to calculate VRP. The only input required are the names of the files containing the open-shell (UHF) MO vectors for the ET reactant and product states (R and P).

The basis set used in the calculation of VRP must be the same as the basis set used to calculate the MO vectors of R and P. The magnitude of VRP depends on the amount of overlap between R and P, which is important to consider when choosing the basis set. Diffuse functions may be necessary to fill in the overlap, particularly when the ET distance is long.

The MO's of R and P must correspond to localized states. for instance, in the reaction A^{ -} B \rightarrow  A B^{ -} the transferring electron is localized on A in the reactant state and is localized on B in the product state. To verify the localization of the electron in the calculation of the vectors, carefully examine the Mulliken population analysis. In order to determine which orbitals are involved in the electron transfer, use the print keyword "mulliken ao" which prints the Mulliken population of each basis function.

An effective core potential (ECP) basis can be used to replace core electrons. However, there is one caveat: the orbitals involved in electron transfer must not be replaced with ECP's. Since the ET orbitals are valence orbitals, this is not usually a problem, but the user should use ECP's with care.

Suggested references are listed below. The first two references gives a good description of Marcus' two-state ET model, and the appendix of the third reference details the method used in the ET module.

  1. R.A. Marcus, N. Sutin, Biochimica Biophysica Acta 35, 437, (1985).
  2. J.R. Bolton, N. Mataga, and G. McLendon in "Electron Transfer in Inorganic, Organic and Biological Systems" (American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1991)
  3. A. Farazdel, M. Dupuis, E. Clementi, and A. Aviram, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 112, 4206 (1990).

VECTORS -- input of MO vectors for ET reactant and product states

 VECTORS [reactants] <string reactants_filename>
 VECTORS [products ] <string products_filename>

In the VECTORS directive the user specifies the source of the molecular orbital vectors for the ET reactant and product states. This is required input, as no default filename will be set by the program. In fact, this is the only required input in the ET module, although there are other optional keywords described below.

FOCK/NOFOCK -- method for calculating the two-electron contribution to VRP

  <string (FOCK||NOFOCK) default FOCK>

This directive enables/disables the use of the NWChem's Fock matrix routine in the calculation of the two-electron portion of the ET Hamiltonian. Since the Fock matrix routine has been optimized for speed, accuracy and parallel performance, it is the most efficient choice.

Alternatively, the user can calculate the two-electron contribution to the ET Hamiltonian with another subroutine which may be more accurate for systems with a small number of basis functions, although it is slower.

TOL2E -- integral screening threshold

 TOL2E <real tol2e default max(10e-12,min(10e-7, S(RP)*10e-7 )>

The variable tol2e is used in determining the integral screening threshold for the evaluation of the two-electron contribution to the Hamiltonian between the electron transfer reactant and product states. As a default, tol2e is set depending on the magnitude of the overlap between the ET reactant and product states (SRP), and is not less than 1.0d-12 or greater than 1.0d-7.

The input to specify the threshold explicitly within the ET directive is, for example:

 tol2e 1e-9


The following example is for a simple electron transfer reaction, He_{} \rightarrow He^{ +}. The ET calculation is easy to execute, but it is crucial that ET reactant and product wavefunctions reflect localized states. This can be accomplished using either a fragment guess, or a charged atomic density guess. For self-exchange ET reactions such as this one, you can use the REORDER keyword to move the electron from the first helium to the second.

Example input :

#ET reactants:
charge 1
  doublet; uhf; vectors input fragment output
# are the vectors for He(+), 
#  are the vectors for neutral He.
task scf

#ET products:
charge 1
  doublet; uhf; vectors input reorder 2 1 output
task scf

 vectors reactants 
 vectors products
task scf et

Here is what the output looks like for this example:

                          Electron Transfer Calculation

MO vectors for reactants:
MO vectors for products :

Electronic energy of reactants     H(RR)      -5.3402392824
Electronic energy of products      H(PP)      -5.3402392824

Reactants/Products overlap         S(RP)      -0.0006033839

Reactants/Products interaction energy:
One-electron contribution         H1(RP)       0.0040314092

Beginning calculation of 2e contribution
Two-electron integral screening (tol2e) : 6.03E-11

Two-electron contribution         H2(RP)      -0.0007837138
Total interaction energy           H(RP)       0.0032476955

Electron Transfer Coupling Energy |V(RP)|      0.0000254810
                                                      5.592 cm-1
                                                   0.000693 eV
                                                      0.016 kcal/mol

The overlap between the ET reactant and product states (SRP) is small, so the magnitude of the coupling between the states is also small. If the fragment guess or charged atomic density guess were not used, the Mulliken spin population would be 0.5 on both He atoms, the overlap between the ET reactant and product states would be 100 % and an infinite VRP would result.