Orientational relaxation in dipolar systems: how much do we understand the role of correlations?

Ravichandran, S. ; Bagchi, B. (1995) Orientational relaxation in dipolar systems: how much do we understand the role of correlations? International Reviews in Physical Chemistry, 14 (2). pp. 271-314. ISSN 0144-235X

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Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01442359509353311


Dipolar systems, both liquids and solids, constitute a class of naturally abundant systems that are important in all branches of natural science. The study of orientational relaxation provides a powerful method to understand the microscopic properties of these systems and, fortunately, there are many experimental tools to study orientational relaxation in the condensed phases. However, even after many years of intense research, our understanding of orientational relaxation in dipolar systems has remained largely imperfect. A major hurdle towards achieving a comprehensive understanding is the long range and complex nature of dipolar interactions which also made reliable theoretical study extremely difficult. These difficulties have led to the development of continuum model based theories, which although they provide simple, elegant expressions for quantities of interest, are mostly unsatisfactory as they totally neglect the molecularity of inter-molecular interactions. The situation has improved in recent years because of renewed studies, led by computer simulations. In this review, we shall address some of the recent advances, with emphasis on the work done in our laboratory at Bangalore. The reasons for the failure of the continuum model, as revealed by the recent Brownian dynamics simulations of the dipolar lattice, are discussed. The main reason is that the continuum model predicts too fast a decay of the torque-torque correlation function. On the other hand, a perturbative calculation, based on Zwanzig's projection operator technique, provides a fairly satisfactory description of the single particle orientational dynamics for not too strongly polar dipolar systems. A recently developed molecular hydrodynamic theory that properly includes the effects of intermolecular orientational pair correlations provides an even better description of the single-particle orientational dynamics. We also discuss the rank dependence of the dielectric friction. The other topics reviewed here includes dielectric relaxation and solvation dynamics, as they are intimately connected with orientational relaxation. Recent molecular dynamics simulations of the dipolar lattice are also discussed. The main theme of the present review is to understand the effects of intermolecular interactions on orientational relaxation. The presence of strong orientational pair correlation leads to a strong coupling between the single particle and the collective dynamics. This coupling can lead to rich dynamical properties, some of which are detailed here, while a major part remains yet unexplored.

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