A heuristic model of damped quantum rotation effects in nuclear magnetic resonance spectra

  • Szymański S
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The damped quantum rotation (DQR) theory describes temperature effects in NMR spectra of hindered molecular rotators composed of identical atoms arranged in regular N-gons. In the standard approach, the relevant coherent dynamics are described quantum mechanically and the stochastic, thermally activated motions classically. The DQR theory is consistent. In place of random jumps over one, two, etc., maxima of the hindering potential, here one has damping processes of certain long-lived coherences between spin-space correlated eigenstates of the rotator. The damping-rate constants outnumber the classical jump-rate constants. The jump picture is recovered when the former cluster appropriately around only as many values as the number of the latter. The DQR theory was confirmed experimentally for hindered methyl groups in solids and even in liquids above 170 K. In this paper it is shown that for three-, four-, and sixfold rotators, the Liouville space equations of NMR line shapes, derived previously with the use of the quantum mechanical reduced density matrix approach, can be be given a heuristic justification. It is based on an equation of motion for the effective spin density matrix, where the relevant spin hamiltonian contains randomly fluctuating terms. The occurrence of the latter can be rationalized in terms of fluctuations of the tunneling splittings between the torsional sublevels of the rotator, including momentary liftings of the Kramers degeneracies. The question whether such degeneracy liftings are physical or virtual is discussed. The random terms in the effective hamiltonian can be Monte Carlo modeled as piecewise constant in time, which affords the stochastic equation of motion to be solved numerically in the Hilbert spin space. For sixfold rotators, this way of calculating the spectra can be useful in the instances where the Liouville space formalism of the original DQR theory is numerically unstable.

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  • S. Szymański

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