Nonsingular van der Waals potentials. Academic Article uri icon


  • Universal, spherical, nonsingular van der Waals interactions including retardation effect are developed for atoms and small molecules through a semiclassical field approach. Consideration of the finite molecular size effect removes the short-distance singular behavior inherent in the widely used potentials obtained from the point-molecule approximation. Physical arguments lead to the molecular size parameter a (in atomic units) as 1/a=1.25(I/IH)1/2, except for a system that involves at least an atom or a molecule with very different first and second ionization potentials, and for such a system the above numerical factor 1.25 is replaced by unity. Here I and IH are the first ionization potentials for the atom or molecule considered and for a hydrogen atom, respectively. The nonsingular potentials have been tested for the following representative systems: H2 (3u+), He2, Ar2, NaK (3+), LiHg (2+), He-HF, Ne-HF, HF-HF, and Ar-HCl. Very good agreement has been found for each of the systems. Based on the above systems studied, an empirical relation has been obtained between the parameter b in the Born-Mayer repulsive potential Ae-bR and the molecular size parameters (a1 and a2). Applying this relation to dozens of systems with known b from either self-consistent-field calculations or experiments, surprisingly good agreements have been obtained. By the same token, another empirical formula is obtained that relates the van der Waals minimum well parameter Rm to the molecular size parameters (a1 and a2) and the first ionization potentials (Ix and Iy) of interacting species. Again, very good agreements have been achieved in comparison with dozens of systems with known experimental Rm's. © 1995 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Phys Rev A

author list (cited authors)

  • Lu, J. X., & Marlow, W. H.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Lu, JX||Marlow, WH

publication date

  • September 1995