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Keywords:

  • clusters;
  • density functional theory;
  • pseudopotentials;
  • quantum theory;
  • superatoms

Abstract

We report first principles calculations of the geometry and electronic structure of 13 atom clusters of boron, aluminium, gallium and indium. These density functional theory calculations support the jellium model in the energy levels and molecular orbitals of the cluster and enable us to discuss the relevance of the superatom concept. We go on to examine a number of cluster symmetries in detail as a function of charge and comment on the successes and limitations of the jellium and superatom models in describing these clusters. In particular we find that the monovalent anionic cluster is the most stable and has the most symmetric structure. As charge changes the symmetry of the clusters decreases in a way that is dependent on symmetry and charge, but not atomic species.