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conical intersection

Point of crossing between two electronic states of the same spin multiplicity (most commonly singlets or triplets).
Notes:
  1. In a polyatomic molecule two potential energy surfaces are allowed to cross along a (3N − 8)-dimensional subspace of the (3N − 6)-dimensional nuclear coordinate space (the intersection space) even if they have the same spatial/spin symmetry (N is the number of nuclei). Each point of the intersection space corresponds to a conical intersection. If the energy is plotted against two special internal geometrical coordinates, x1 and x2, which define the so-called branching plane, the potential energy surface would have the form of a double cone in the region surrounding the degeneracy. In the remaining (3N − 8) directions, the energies of the ground and excited state remain degenerate; movement in the branching plane lifts the degeneracy.
  2. From a mechanistic point of view, conical intersections often provide the channel mediating radiationless deactivation and photochemical reaction.
    CT07347
Source:
PAC, 2007, 79, 293 (Glossary of terms used in photochemistry, 3rd edition (IUPAC Recommendations 2006)) on page 317
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Cite as:
IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: http://goldbook.iupac.org (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8. doi:10.1351/goldbook.
Last update: 2014-02-24; version: 2.3.3.
DOI of this term: doi:10.1351/goldbook.CT07347.
Original PDF version: http://www.iupac.org/goldbook/CT07347.pdf. The PDF version is out of date and is provided for reference purposes only. For some entries, the PDF version may be unavailable.
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