Core molecular orbital contribution to N2O isomerization as studied using theoretical electron momentum spectroscopy

Feng Wang, Frank P. Larkins, Michael J. Brunger, Marek T. Michalewicz, Dave A Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOther

14 Citations (Scopus)


Core molecular orbital contribution to the electronic structure of N2O isomers has been studied using quantum mechanical density functional theory combined with a plane wave impulse approximation method. Momentum distributions of wave functions for inner shell molecular orbitals of the linear NNO, cyclic and linear NON isomers of N2O are calculated through the (e, 2e) differential cross sections in momentum space. This is possible because this momentum distribution is directly proportional to the modulus squared of the momentum space wave function for the molecular orbital in question. While the momentum distributions of the NNO and cyclic N2O isomers demonstrate strong atomic orbital characteristics in their core space, the outer core molecular orbitals of the linear NON isomer exhibit configuration interactions between them and the valence molecular orbitals. It is suggested that the frozen core approximation breaks down in the prediction of the electronic structure of such an isomer. Core molecular orbital contributions to the electronic structure can alter the order of total energies of the isomers and lead to incorrect conclusions of the stability among the isomers. As a result, full electron calculations should be employed in the study of N2O isomerization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalSpectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Core molecular orbital contribution
  • Density functional theory calculation
  • Electron momentum spectroscopy
  • NO isomerization

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