Solvation by nonpolar solvents: Shifts of solute electronic spectra

Stratt, Richard M.; Adams, John E.
July 1993
Journal of Chemical Physics;7/15/1993, Vol. 99 Issue 2, p775
Academic Journal
It is only relatively recently that it has become possible to use spectroscopy to track the solvation of a molecule as one proceeds from small solute-plus-solvent clusters, through bulk liquids, and into cryogenic matrices. One of the more surprising findings of such studies is that, in a number of noteworthy instances—such as with benzene dissolved in Ar—the solvent shifts of spectral lines in even apparently sizable clusters seem not to go smoothly into the bulk results. In this and the following paper we consider just what level of theoretical treatment is necessary in order to be able to account for the solvent shift of electronic spectra consistently in environments ranging from clusters to the bulk. As we discuss in some detail, neither continuum dielectric approaches nor sums of pair potentials can adequately describe the solvation. What we propose here, instead, is that the effects of nonpolar solvents can be treated fully microscopically by a model incorporating both local repulsive effects and longer-ranged dielectric effects. The latter contribution, resulting from the solvent’s polarizability, is formulated in terms of the so-called polarization modes of the solvent, which change with the detailed arrangement of the solute’s environment. We illustrate the ideas by showing that one can understand the optical spectroscopy of benzene in liquid Ar more or less quantitatively by using this model, and we point out some connections with analogous time-dependent solvation studies. The application of this same approach to clusters is described in the succeeding paper.


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