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Computational Consequences of Neglected First Order Van der Waals Forces

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Authors: Kevin Cahill and V. Adrian Parsegian arXiv:q-bio/0312005

We have computed the widely neglected first-order interaction between neutral atoms. At interatomic separations typical of condensed media, it is nearly equal to the 1/r6 second-order London energy inferred from interactions in gasses. Our results, without the exchange forces that lead to covalent bonding, suggest that the quality of non-bonding attraction between neutral atoms of molecules in condensed media differs from the 1/r6 form usually ascribed to it. If we add first-order and all second-order terms, we obtain energies nearly five times the 1/r6 London energies which dominate only at the atomic separations found in gasses. For computation, we propose a practical, accurate form of energy to replace the qualitatively inaccurate Lennard-Jones and harmonic forms casually assumed to hold at the interatomic separations found in condensed media.

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