May 25, 2023
Journal Article

Helical organic and inorganic polymers


Despite being a staple of synthetic plastics and biomolecules, helical polymers are scarcely studied with Gaussianbasis-set ab initio electron-correlated methods on an equal footing with molecules. This article introduces an ab initio second-order Green’s-function [MBGF(2)] method with nondiagonal, frequency-dependent Dyson self-energy for infinite helical polymers using screw-axis-symmetry-adapted Gaussian-spherical-harmonics basis functions. Together with the Gaussian-basis-set density-functional theory for energies, analytical atomic forces, translational-period force, and helical-angle force, it can compute correlated energy, quasiparticle energy bands, structures, and vibrational frequencies of an infinite helical polymer, which smoothly converge at the corresponding oligomer results. We apply these methods to polyethylene (2/1 helix), polyacetylene (Peierls’ system), and polytetrafluoroethylene (13/6 helix) to establish the quantitative accuracy of MBGF(2)/cc-pVDZ in simulating their (angle-resolved) ultraviolet photoelectron spectra, and of B3LYP/cc-pVDZ or 6-31G** in reproducing their structures, infrared and Raman band positions, phonon dispersions, and (coherent and incoherent) inelastic neutron scattering spectra. We then predict the same properties for infinitely catenated chains of nitrogen or oxygen and discuss their possible metastable existence under ambient conditions. They include planar zigzag polyazene (N2)x (Peierls’ system), 11/3-helical isotactic polyazane (NH)x, 9/4-helical isotactic polyfluoroazane (NF)x, and 7/2-helical polyoxane (O)x as potential high-energy-density materials.

Published: May 25, 2023


Hirata S., Y. Shigeta, S.S. Xantheas, and R.J. Bartlett. 2023. Helical organic and inorganic polymers. Journal of Physical Chemistry 127, no. 15:3556–3583. PNNL-SA-181754. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcb.3c00620

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