Dynamics of fission and Coulomb explosion of multicharged large finite systems

Y. Levy, I. Last, J. Jortner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper reports on studies of the fragmentation dynamics of multicharged (A + ) 55 Morse clusters, where the variation of the range of the Morse potential parameters induces cluster fission for a long-range potential and Coulomb explosion for a short-range potential. The multidimensional energy landscapes for these fragmentation processes were explored by constructing reduced coordinates utilizing the principal component analysis (PCA), which was previously applied for the energy landscapes and folding dynamics of biomolecules. The distance-matrix based PCA was applied to study the effects of the potential on the fragmentation dynamics and to explore the structural diversity of the fragmentation processes. The first principal coordinate (which captures 95% of the dynamic information content for each trajectory) constitutes an appropriate reaction coordinate for both fission and Coulomb explosion and was used to determine the temperature-dependent fragmentation rates. These obey the Arrhenius law, with the barrier for fission (0.36?eV) being higher than for Coulomb explosion (0.22?eV). Structural and energetic information on the radius of gyration and on the potential energy for small values of the reaction coordinate manifest considerably larger fluctuations for fission than for Coulomb explosion, indicating that in the former case the cluster shrinks and swells prior to dissociation. The joint projection of multiple trajectories for each fragmentation process allows for the description of the energy landscapes and fragmentation pathways in terms of two principal coordinates, which manifest a form of 'ski slopes. Different collective coordinates describe the spatially isotropic Coulomb explosion and the spatially unisotropic fission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1237
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2006


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