The benzene radical anion is a molecular ion pertinent to several organic reactions, including the Birch reduction of benzene in liquid ammonia. The species exhibits a dynamic Jahn–Teller effect due to its open-shell nature and undergoes pseudorotation of its geometry. Here, we characterize the complex electronic structure of this condensed-phase system based on ab initio molecular dynamics simulations and GW calculations of the benzene radical anion solvated in liquid ammonia. Using detailed analysis of the molecular and electronic structure, we find that the spatial character of the excess electron of the solvated radical anion follows the underlying Jahn–Teller distortions of the molecular geometry. We decompose the electronic density of states to isolate the contribution of the solute and to examine the response of the solvent to its presence. Our findings show the correspondence between instantaneous molecular structure and spin density; provide important insights into the electronic stability of the species, revealing that it is, indeed, a bound state in the condensed phase; and offer electronic densities of states that aid in the interpretation of experimental photoelectron spectra.
Electronic structure of the solvated benzene radical anion
Note: This paper is part of the JCP Special Topic on Beyond GGA Total Energies for Solids and Surfaces.
Krystof Brezina, Vojtech Kostal, Pavel Jungwirth, Ondrej Marsalek; Electronic structure of the solvated benzene radical anion. J. Chem. Phys. 7 January 2022; 156 (1): 014501. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0076115
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