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Spin-Orbit Coupling: Effects in Heavy Element Chemistry

  1. Nikolas Kaltsoyannis

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia655

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Kaltsoyannis, N. 2009. Spin-Orbit Coupling: Effects in Heavy Element Chemistry. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University College London, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009


Starting from the premise that the chemical consequences of scalar relativistic effects are by now largely understood, and may be incorporated more or less routinely into quantum chemical calculations, this contribution focuses on the historically less widely investigated part that spin-orbit coupling plays in heavy element electronic structure. The effects of relativity are first summarized, followed by a discussion of the principal approaches to the calculation of molecular electronic structure and how relativistic effects may be incorporated into them. Two approaches for the calculation of spin-orbit coupling effects are then presented; namely, the spin-orbit coupled time-dependent density functional theory technique of Wang et al. [Wang, F.; Ziegler, T.; van Lenthe, E.; van Gisbergen, S.; Baerends, E. J. J. Chem. Phys. 2005, 122, 204103] and the spin-orbit restricted active space state interaction method of Roos and coworkers [Roos, B. O.; Malmqvist, P. A. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2004, 6, 2919]. Recent applications of both approaches to the electronic structure of p, d, and f block systems are then discussed, with emphasis on the improved understanding and agreement with experiment that these methods yield.


  • spin-orbit coupling;
  • TDDFT;
  • RASSI;
  • relativity