Defense Date

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Shiv Khanna

Second Advisor

Alison Baski

Third Advisor

Dusan Bratko

Abstract

Atomic clusters are attractive candidates for building motifs for new nano-assembled materials with desirable properties. At this nano-regime of matter, the size, shape, and composition of clusters changes their electronic structure and hence their properties. Computational modeling must work hand in hand with experiment to provide robust descriptions of the geometries and energetics of atomic clusters and how they might behave in a nano-assembled material. To this end, we have investigated three distinct species as model systems: antimony oxides SbxOy (x = 1, 2; y = 0 - 3), metal ion-solvent complexes Mm(NH3)n (M = Bi, Pb; m = 1 - 2, n = 0 - 4), and quantum dots Z10H16 (Z = Si, Ge) and β-Sn12H24. Their geometries and electronic structures have been determined using gradient-corrected density functional theory. The relative stabilities for antimony oxides have been examined by the respective comparison of highest-occupied and lowest-unoccupied molecular orbital (HOMO-LUMO) gaps and atomization energies. The superior electronic stability of Sb2O3 is indicated by its closed shell structure, wide HOMO-LUMO gap calculated to be 3.11 eV, and high atomization energy of 4.21 eV. Spin-orbit corrections were necessary for accurate calculation of the metal-solvent energetics, closing the gap between experimental and theoretical values by 1.05 eV for the electron affinity of the Pb atom. Quantum dot modeling of the well-established Si and Ge as well as the less-investigated Sn illuminated the accuracy of the CEP basis sets and the B3LYP functional over other DFT computational routes for clusters containing elements beyond the third row. Throughout, the results correlate well with experiment and higher order ab initio methods where data is available. These comparisons validate the accuracy of the computational routes used. This document was prepared in the Linux Ubuntu Open Office Suite 2.4.1.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009

Included in

Physics Commons

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