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The Journal of Chemical Physics





DOI of Original Publication



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October 2015


Density-functional theory with generalized gradient approximation for the exchange-correlation potential has been used to calculate the global equilibrium geometries and electronic structure of neutral, cationic, and anionic aluminumclusters containing up to 15 atoms. The total energies of these clusters are then used to study the evolution of their binding energy, relative stability, fragmentation channels, ionization potential, and vertical and adiabatic electron affinities as a function of size. The geometries are found to undergo a structural change from two dimensional to three dimensional when the cluster contains 6 atoms. An interior atom emerges only when clusters contain 11 or more atoms. The geometrical changes are accompanied by corresponding changes in the coordination number and the electronic structure. The latter is reflected in the relative concentration of the s and p electrons of the highest occupied molecular orbital. Aluminum behaves as a monovalent atom in clusters containing less than seven atoms and as a trivalent atom in clusters containing seven or more atoms. The binding energy evolves monotonically with size, but Al7, Al+7, Al−7, Al−11, and Al−13 exhibit greater stability than their neighbors. Although the neutral clusters do not conform to the jellium model, the enhanced stability of these charged clusters is demonstrated to be due to the electronic shell closure. The fragmentation proceeds preferably by the ejection of a single atom irrespective of the charge state of the parent clusters. While odd-atom clusters carry a magnetic moment of 1μB as expected, clusters containing even number of atoms carry 2μB for n⩽10 and 0 μB for n>10.The calculated results agree very well with all available experimental data on magnetic properties,ionization potentials,electron affinities, and fragmentation channels. The existence of isomers of Al13 cluster provides a unique perspective on the anomaly in the intensity distribution of the mass spectra. The unusual stability of Al7 in neutral, cationic, and anionic form compared to its neighboring clusters is argued to be due to its likely existence in a mixed-valence state.


Rao, B. K., Jena, P. Evolution of the electronic structure and properties of neutral and charged aluminum clusters: A comprehensive analysis. The Journal of Chemical Physics 111, 1890 (1999). Copyright © 1999 AIP Publishing LLC.

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