Pointing the way to the products? Comparison of the stress tensor and the second-derivative tensor of the electron density Academic Article uri icon

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  • The eigenvectors of the electronic stress tensor can be used to identify where new bond paths form in a chemical reaction. In cases where the eigenvectors of the stress tensor are not available, the gradient-expansion-approximation suggests using the eigenvalues of the second derivative tensor of the electron density instead; this approximation can be made quantitatively accurate by scaling and shifting the second-derivative tensor, but it has a weaker physical basis and less predictive power for chemical reactivity than the stress tensor. These tools provide an extension of the quantum theory of atoms and molecules from the characterization of molecular electronic structure to the prediction of chemical reactivity.


  • Guevara-García, Alfredo
  • Echegaray, Eleonora
  • Toro-Labbe, Alejandro
  • Jenkins, Samantha
  • Kirk, Steven R
  • Ayers, Paul

publication date

  • June 21, 2011