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Journal of Chemical Physics

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The H bonds in H2O–HF and H2O–HCl are studied and compared using ab initio molecular orbital methods and the results compared to experimental data. Basis sets used are: (i) triple valence 6‐311G∗∗ and (ii) double ζ with two sets of polarization functions. Electron correlation, included via second‐ and third‐order Møller–Plesset perturbation theory, is found to have profound effects on both systems, particularly H2O–HCl. Both H bonds are strengthened substantially with a concomitant reduction in length. H‐bond energies and geometries calculated at correlated levels are in excellent accord with available experimental information. In both systems, all levels of theory indicate the equilibrium geometry contains a pyramidal arrangement about the oxygen atom. However, the difference in energy between this structure and a C2v planar arrangement is found to be small enough that consideration of probability amplitudes in the ground vibrational level leads to nearly equal likelihood of observing either geometry. Agreement between experimental vibrational frequencies in H2O–HF and those calculated at correlated levels and involving quadratic, cubic, and quartic force constants is quite good. An explanation is offered for the increase in HX bond length which occurs at SCF and correlated levels upon H‐bond formation based upon nearly linear relationships between this length on one hand and subunit dipole moment and polarizability on the other. The dispersion energy is found to be a very sensitive, almost exactly linear function of the increase of H–X bond length. This energy contributes substantially to the weakening of the HX bond upon complexation.


Originally published by American Institute of Physics in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

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