An alternative strategy to find the minimal energy structure of nanoclusters is presented and implemented. We use it to determine the structure of metallic clusters. It consists in an unbiased search, with a global minimum algorithm: conformational space annealing. First, we find the minima of a many-body phenomenological potential to create a data bank of putative minima. This procedure assures us the generation of a set of cluster configurations of large diversity. Next, the clusters in this data bank are relaxed by ab initio techniques to obtain their energies and geometrical structures. The scheme is successfully applied to magic number 13 atom clusters of rhodium, palladium, and silver. We obtained minimal energy cluster structures not previously reported, which are different from the phenomenological minima. Moreover, they are not always highly symmetric, thus casting some doubt on the customary biased search scheme, which consists in relaxing with density functional theory global minima chosen among high symmetry structures obtained by means of phenomenological potentials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry