Energy landscape of Au13: a global view of structure transformation†
It has long been a challenge in physics and chemistry to acquire a global picture of the energy landscape of a specific material, as well as the kinetic transformation process between configurations of interest. Here we have presented a comprehensive approach to deal with the structure transformation problem, along with the illustration of the energy landscape, as exemplified with the case of Au13. A configuration space based on interatomic distances was proposed and demonstrated to have a strong correlation between structure and energy, with application in structure analysis to screen for trial transition pathways. As several representative configurations and their transition pathways ascertained and by projecting on a plane, a visual two-dimensional contour map was sketched revealing the unique energy landscape of Au13. It shows that the 2D and 3D clusters form two funnels in the high-dimensional configuration space, with a transition pathway with a 0.976 eV barrier bridging them.