Computational characterisation of structure and metallicity in small neutral and singly-charged cadmium clusters†
Putative global minimum structures for neutral CdN and singly charged CdN+ and CdN− clusters in the small size regime up to N = 21 atoms are reported. A global optimization approach based on the basin hopping method and a Gupta potential fitted to cluster properties is employed to generate a diverse databank of trial structures, which are then re-optimized at the density-functional level of theory. Novel, previously unreported, structures are found for many sizes. Our results successfully reproduce and interpret the size-dependent stabilities known from mass spectrometry, and strongly suggest that experiments aimed at determining the relative stabilities of neutral cadmium clusters are really measuring cation stabilities. We provide an in-depth analysis of electronic structure and use it to explain the gradual emergence of metallic-like behaviour as the cluster size increases.