Comprehensive Study of HCN: Potential Energy Surfaces, State-to-State Kinetics, and Master Equation Analysis

Maitreyee Sharma Priyadarshini, Sung Min Jo, Simone Venturi, David W. Schwenke, Richard L. Jaffe, Marco Panesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the kinetics of the HCN system is critical to several disciplines in science and engineering, including interstellar chemistry, atmospheric reentry, and combustion, to name a few. This paper constructs a rovibrational state-specific kinetic mechanism for the HCN system, leveraging electronic structure calculations, classical scattering dynamics, and state-to-state kinetics. To this aim, three accurate potential energy surfaces (PESs), 1A′, 3A′, and 3A″, are constructed using multireference configuration interaction (MRCI) calculations for a comprehensive arrangement of the nuclei. Quasi-classical scattering calculations provide elementary reaction rate constants resulting from the interaction between the CN, CH, and NH molecules with H, N, and C atoms, respectively. The rovibrational collisional model developed comprises 50 million bound-bound and free-bound collisional processes. This model is used to study the dynamics of energy transfer and dissociation in an isochoric and isothermal chemical reactor via the solution of the master equation for a wide temperature range from 1000 to 10,000 K. This study unravels the dynamics of dissociation of the molecules in the HCN system, which the PESs primarily control via the formation of short-lived intermediates that shortcut the dissociation pathway. The exchange processes in CH and NH enhance the dissociation by over 80%. The importance of exchange processes is also highlighted in comparing the quasi-steady state and thermal dissociation rates with state-of-the-art rate models and experimental fits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8249-8265
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 10 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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