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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation of wavefunctions by electron momentum spectroscopy Bawagan, Alexis Delano Ortiz


Electron momentum spectroscopy (EMS) provides experimental atomic and molecular electronic structure information in terms of the binding energy spectrum and the experimental momentum profile (XMP), which is a direct probe of the electron momentum distribution in specific molecular orbitals. The measured XMPs permit a detailed quantitative evaluation of theoretical ab initio wavefunctions in quantum chemistry and also provide a means to investigate traditional concepts in chemical reactivity at the fundamental electronic level. This thesis reports high momentum resolution EMS measurements of the valence orbitals of H₂0, D₂0, NH₃ and H₂CO obtained using an EMS spectrometer of the symmetric, non-coplanar type operated at an impact energy of 1200eV. The measured experimental momentum profiles for the valence orbitals of each molecule have been placed on a common intensity scale, which has allowed a stringent quantitative comparison between experiment and theory. These studies now confirm earlier preliminary investigations that suggested serious discrepancies between experimental and theoretical momentum distributions. Exhaustive consideration of possible rationalizations of these discrepancies indicate that double zeta quality and even near Hartree-Fock quality wavefunctions are insufficient in describing the outermost valence orbitals of H₂0 and NH₃. Preliminary results for H₂CO also indicate that near Hartree-Fock wavefunctions are incapable of describing the outermost 2b₂ orbital. Interactive and collaborative theoretical efforts have therefore led to the development of new Hartree-Fock limit and also highly correlated (CI) wavefunctions for H₂0, NH₃ and H₂CO. It is found that highly extended basis sets including diffuse functions and the adequate inclusion of correlation and relaxation effects are necessary in the accurate prediction of experimental momentum profiles as measured by electron momentum spectroscopy. New EMS measurements are also reported for the outermost valence orbitals of NF₃, NH₂CH₃, NH (CH₃)₂, N (CH₃)₃ and para-dichlorobenzene. These exploratory studies have illustrated useful chemical applications of EMS. In particular, EMS measurements of the outermost orbitals of the methylated amines have revealed chemical trends which are consistent with molecular orbital calculations. These calculations suggest extensive electron density derealization of the so-called nitrogen 'lone pair' in the methylated amines in comparison to the 'lone pair' in NH₃. EMS measurements of the non-degenerate π₃ and π₂ orbitals of para-dichlorobenzene show different experimental momentum profiles consistent with arguments based on inductive and resonance effects. These experimental trends, both in the case of the amines and para-dichlorobenzene, were qualitatively predicted by molecular orbital calculations using double zeta quality wavefunctions. However more accurate prediction of the experimental momentum profiles of these molecules will need more extended basis sets and the inclusion of correlation and relaxation effects as suggested by the studies based on the smaller molecules. An integrated computer package (HEMS) for momentum space calculations has also been developed based on improvements to existing programs. Development studies testing a new prototype multichannel (in the ɸ plane) EMS spectrometer are described.

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