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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. We revisit a recent proposal to model nonadiabatic problems with a complex-valued Hamiltonian through a phase-space surface hopping (PSSH) algorithm employing a pseudo-diabatic basis. Here, we show that such a pseudo-diabatic PSSH (PD-PSSH) ansatz is consistent with a quantum-classical Liouville equation (QCLE) that can be derived following a preconditioning process, and we demonstrate that a proper PD-PSSH algorithm is able to capture some geometric magnetic effects (whereas the standard fewest switches surface hopping approach cannot capture such effects). We also find that a preconditioned QCLE can outperform the standard QCLE in certain cases, highlighting the fact that there is no unique QCLE. Finally, we also point out that one can construct a mean-field Ehrenfest algorithm using a phase-space representation similar to what is done for PSSH. These findings would appear extremely helpful as far as understanding and simulating nonadiabatic dynamics with complex-valued Hamiltonians and/or spin degeneracy. 
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  3. We show that the Berry force as computed by an approximate, mean-field electronic structure can be meaningful if properly interpreted. In particular, for a model Hamiltonian representing a molecular system with an even number of electrons interacting via a two-body (Hubbard) interaction and a spin–orbit coupling, we show that a meaningful nonzero Berry force emerges whenever there is spin unrestriction—even though the Hamiltonian is real-valued and formally the on-diagonal single-surface Berry force must be zero. Moreover, if properly applied, this mean-field Berry force yields roughly the correct asymptotic motion for scattering through an avoided crossing. That being said, within the context of a ground-state calculation, several nuances do arise as far interpreting the Berry force correctly, and as a practical matter, the Berry force diverges near the Coulson–Fischer point (which can lead to numerical instabilities). We do not address magnetic fields here. 
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  4. Abstract

    Selectively exciting target molecules to high vibrational states is inefficient in the liquid phase, which restricts the use of IR pumping to catalyze ground-state chemical reactions. Here, we demonstrate that this inefficiency can sometimes be solved by confining the liquid to an optical cavity under vibrational strong coupling conditions. For a liquid solution of13CO2solute in a12CO2solvent, cavity molecular dynamics simulations show that exciting a polariton (hybrid light-matter state) of the solvent with an intense laser pulse, under suitable resonant conditions, may lead to a very strong (>3 quanta) and ultrafast (<1 ps) excitation of the solute, even though the solvent ends up being barely excited. By contrast, outside a cavity the same input pulse fluence can excite the solute by only half a vibrational quantum and the selectivity of excitation is low. Our finding is robust under different cavity volumes, which may lead to observable cavity enhancement on IR photochemical reactions in Fabry–Pérot cavities.

     
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  5. Chemical relaxation phenomena, including photochemistry and electron transfer processes, form a vigorous area of research in which nonadiabatic dynamics plays a fundamental role. However, for electronic systems with spin degrees of freedom, there are few if any applicable and practical quasiclassical methods. Here, we show that for nonadiabatic dynamics with two electronic states and a complex-valued Hamiltonian that does not obey time-reversal symmetry (as relevant to many coupled nuclear-electronic-spin systems), the optimal semiclassical approach is to generalize Tully’s surface hopping dynamics from coordinate space to phase space. In order to generate the relevant phase-space adiabatic surfaces, one isolates a proper set of diabats, applies a phase gauge transformation, and then diagonalizes the total Hamiltonian (which is now parameterized by both R and P). The resulting algorithm is simple and valid in both the adiabatic and nonadiabatic limits, incorporating all Berry curvature effects. Most importantly, the resulting algorithm allows for the study of semiclassical nonadiabatic dynamics in the presence of spin–orbit coupling and/or external magnetic fields. One expects many simulations to follow as far as modeling cutting-edge experiments with entangled nuclear, electronic, and spin degrees of freedom, e.g., experiments displaying chiral-induced spin selectivity. 
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  6. Under vibrational strong coupling (VSC), the formation of molecular polaritons may significantly modify the photo-induced or thermal properties of molecules. In an effort to understand these intriguing modifications, both experimental and theoretical studies have focused on the ultrafast dynamics of vibrational polaritons. Here, following our recent work [Li et al., J. Chem. Phys. 154, 094124 (2021)], we systematically study the mechanism of polariton relaxation for liquid CO 2 under a weak external pumping. Classical cavity molecular dynamics (CavMD) simulations confirm that polariton relaxation results from the combined effects of (i) cavity loss through the photonic component and (ii) dephasing of the bright-mode component to vibrational dark modes as mediated by intermolecular interactions. The latter polaritonic dephasing rate is proportional to the product of the weight of the bright mode in the polariton wave function and the spectral overlap between the polariton and dark modes. Both these factors are sensitive to parameters such as the Rabi splitting and cavity mode detuning. Compared to a Fermi’s golden rule calculation based on a tight-binding harmonic model, CavMD yields a similar parameter dependence for the upper polariton relaxation lifetime but sometimes a modest disagreement for the lower polariton. We suggest that this disagreement results from polariton-enhanced molecular nonlinear absorption due to molecular anharmonicity, which is not included in our analytical model. We also summarize recent progress on probing nonreactive VSC dynamics with CavMD. 
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