Abstract

Bonding energies play an essential role in describing the relative stability of molecules in chemical space. Therefore, methods employed to search chemical space need to capture the bonding behavior for a wide range of molecules, including radicals. In this work, we investigate the ability of quantum alchemy to capture the bonding behavior of hypothetical chemical compounds, specifically diatomic molecules involving hydrogen with various electronic structures. We evaluate equilibrium bond lengths, ionization energies, and electron affinities of these fundamental systems. We compare and contrast how well manual quantum alchemy calculations, i.e., quantum mechanics calculations in which the nuclear charge is altered, and quantum alchemy approximations using a Taylor series expansion can predict these molecular properties. Our results suggest that while manual quantum alchemy calculations outperform Taylor series approximations, truncations of Taylor series approximations after the second order provide the most accurate Taylor series predictions. Furthermore, these results suggest that trends in quantum alchemy predictions are generally dependent on the predicted property (i.e., equilibrium bond length, ionization energy, or electron affinity). Taken together, this work provides insight into how quantum alchemy predictions using a Taylor series expansion may be applied to future studies of non-singlet systems as well as the challenges that remain open for predicting the bonding behavior of such systems.

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