This paper explores the driving mechanisms for structural transitions of atomic clusters between oblate and prolate isomers. We employ the hyperspherical coordinates to investigate structural dynamics of a seven-atom cluster at a coarse-grained level in terms of the dynamics of three gyration radii and three principal axes, which characterize overall mass distributions of the cluster. Dynamics of gyration radii is governed by two kinds of forces. One is the potential force originating from the interactions between atoms. The other is the dynamical forces called the internal centrifugal forces, which originate from twisting and shearing motions of the system. The internal centrifugal force arising from twisting motions has an effect of breaking the symmetry between two gyration radii. As a result, in an oblate isomer, activation of the internal centrifugal force that has the effect of breaking the symmetry between the two largest gyration radii is crucial in triggering structural transitions into prolate isomers. In a prolate isomer, on the other hand, activation of the internal centrifugal force that has the effect of breaking the symmetry between the two smallest gyration radii is crucial in triggering structural transitions into oblate isomers. Activation of a twisting motion that switches the movement patterns of three principal axes is also important for the onset of structural transitions between oblate and prolate isomers. Based on these trigger mechanisms, we finally show that selective activations of specific gyration radii and twisting motions, depending on the isomer of the cluster, can effectively induce structural transitions of the cluster. The results presented here could provide further insights into the control of molecular reactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry