Analytic and numerical vibronic spectra from quasi-classical trajectory ensembles

Justin Provazza, Roel Tempelaar, David F. Coker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The truncated Wigner approximation to quantum dynamics in phase space is explored in the context of computing vibronic line shapes for monomer linear optical spectra. We consider multiple model potential forms including a shifted harmonic oscillator with both equal and unequal frequencies on the ground and excited state potentials as well as a shifted Morse potential model. For the equal-frequency shifted harmonic oscillator model, we derive an analytic expression for the exact vibronic line shape that emphasizes the importance of using a quantum mechanical distribution of phase space initial conditions. For the unequal-frequency shifted harmonic oscillator model, we are no longer able to obtain an exact expression for the vibronic line shape in terms of independent deterministic classical trajectories. We show how one can rigorously account for corrections to the truncated Wigner approximation through nonlinear responses of the line shape function to momentum fluctuations along a classical trajectory and demonstrate the qualitative improvement in the resulting spectrum when the leading-order quantum correction is included. Finally, we numerically simulate absorption spectra of a highly anharmonic shifted Morse potential model. We find that, while finite quantization and the dissociation limit are captured with reasonable accuracy, there is a qualitative breakdown of the quasi-classical trajectory ensemble’s ability to describe the vibronic line shape when the relative shift in Morse potentials becomes large. The work presented here provides clarity on the origin of unphysical negative features known to contaminate absorption spectra computed with quasi-classical trajectory ensembles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014108
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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