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Teaching the jahn-teller theorem: A simple exercise that illustrates how the magnitude of distortion depends on the number of electrons and their occupation of the degenerate energy level
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Applied Physical Chemistry.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Chemical Education, ISSN 0021-9584, E-ISSN 1938-1328, Vol. 90, no 1, 63-69 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Teaching the Jahn-Teller theorem offers several challenges. For many students, the first encounter comes in coordination chemistry, which can be difficult due to the already complicated nature of transition-metal complexes. Moreover, a deep understanding of the Jahn-Teller theorem requires that one is well acquainted with quantum mechanics and group theory. A comparatively simple way to illustrate the anatomy of the Jahn-Teller effect is presented here. Chemistry teachers are reminded of a sometimes forgotten aspect, namely, that the orbital degeneracy itself is not a sufficient criterion for the Jahn-Teller effect to appear, it is necessary that the occupation of the degenerate energy level is asymmetric. The article can serve as an introduction to the Jahn-Teller theorem, either as a lecture or as a computational exercise.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 90, no 1, 63-69 p.
Keyword [en]
Computational Chemistry, Graduate Education/Research, Molecular Properties/Structure, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry, Textbooks/Reference Books, Theoretical Chemistry, Upper-Division Undergraduate
National Category
Chemical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-118107DOI: 10.1021/ed300295rISI: 000313929700011ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84872152335OAI: diva2:604796

QC 20130212

Available from: 2013-02-12 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2013-02-21Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, Adam Johannes
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