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Actinide trioxide (AnO3, An = U, Np, Pu, Am, Cm) molecules have been investigated by relativistic multireference quantum chemical calculations with the goal to elucidate their electronic structures. The molecular geometries of the ground and selected excited electronic states have been optimized at the spin-orbit-free complete active space second-order perturbation theory (SF-CASPT2) level. The low-lying vertical excitation states have been computed and characterized by CASPT2 calculations taking into account spin-orbit coupling. The reason for the considerable lengthening of the equatorial An-O bond in AmO3 and CmO3 with respect to the other trioxides has been analyzed on the basis of valence molecular orbitals of the SF ground electronic states. For the bond in question a singly occupied π orbital has been identified, this orbital is doubly occupied in the other (An = U, Np, Pu) trioxides. The clarified electronic structures of the investigated AnO3 molecules confirmed the pentavalent character of Am and Cm in their trioxides in contrast to the hexavalent character of U, Np, and Pu.
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Name: The journal of physical chemistry. A
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