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Title: The Odd Power of Dispersion

In ancient China, water has been regarded as one of the five vital components of life. It has been observed that water has many fascinating properties: water is ‘soft’ yet it can penetrate a hard rock; water is ‘pure’ yet it can tolerate other beings. Because of its unique properties, water is often associated with good quality and has been given the highest praise by Laozi in his book Tao Te Ching saying: the highest/best quality that one can have is being like water. However, little did people understand why and how water possesses such fascinating properties. Modern scientific developments made people realize that the macroscopic liquid water is made of a large number of water molecules held together via a network of hydrogen bonds. And those wonderful properties of water are merely the macroscopic manifestations of the interactions between water molecules and other molecules. For example, the dissolving ability of water is due to the fact that the interaction between a water molecule and the other molecular species is stronger than the interactions among their own molecular species. In fact the interactions between any two molecules are governed by the same physics and are termed intermolecular interaction (or intermolecularmore » forces in some literature, although technically ‘force’ is incorrect usage here). Although the very existence of the intermolecular interactions is easily proved, e.g. the mere presence of the solid phase of matter, and scientists today have recognized that the seemingly weak intermolecular interactions essentially hold the world together through a delicate and cooperative process, the theoretical understanding of various intermolecular interactions is still far from satisfactory. On the practical side, theoreticians need to balance computational cost and accuracy. Because of the relatively small magnitudes of the intermolecular interactions, errors that appear tiny compared to the usual chemical (covalent) bonding may change conclusions qualitatively. High-level ab initio methods including explicit description of electron correlation can achieve the desired accuracy at very high computational cost. (Chapter 5 and 6) However the cooperative network of hundreds of thousands of molecules that reflects the true power of intermolecular interactions cannot be modeled easily by ab initio methods. Deeper understanding of intermolecular interactions yields better theoretical models; better theoretical models facilitate and even deepen the understanding of intermolecular interactions. With the aforementioned motivation in mind, a significant portion of this dissertation is dedicated to developing a method to describe the intermolecular interactions accurately with affordable computational resources.« less
  1. Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
IS--T 3117
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Research Org:
Ames Laboratory (AMES), Ames, IA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States