4. Creating Input Files for Pressure Dependent Calculations

4.1. Syntax

There are four parts to a pressure-dependent calculation input file, giving the species, transition states, path reactions, reaciton network, and algorithm parameters. The species section must come before the reaction section. Before discussing each of these sections, a brief word on the general input file syntax will be given.

4.2. Species Parameters

Each species in the network must be specified using a species() block. This includes all unimolecular isomers, bimolecular reactants and products, and the bath gas(es). A species that appears in multiple bimolecular channels need only be specified with a single species() block.

There are a number of required and optional parameters associated with a species block:

Parameter Required? Description
label all species A unique string label used as an identifier
structure all species except bath gas A chemical structure for the species defined using either SMILES or InChI
E0 all species The ground-state energy (including zero-point energy)
modes all species The molecular degrees of freedom (see below)
spinMultiplicity all species The ground-state spin multiplicity (degeneracy), sets to 1 by default if not used
opticalIsomers all species The number of optical isomers of the species, sets to 1 by default if not used
molecularWeight all species The molecular weight, if not given it is calculated based on the structure
collisionModel optional Transport data for the species, if available
energyTransferModel optional Assigned with SingleExponentialDown model if available
thermo optional Thermo data for the species

The label parameter should be set to a string with the desired user name for the species.

label = 'nButanol'

The structure parameter is defined by either SMILES or InChI. For instance, either representation is acceptable for the acetone molecule:

structure = SMILES('CC(C)=O')

structure = InChI('InChI=1S/C3H6O/c1-3(2)4/h1-2H3')

The E0 ground state energy should be given in the quantity format (value, 'units'), using units of either kJ/mol, kcal/mol, J/mol, or cal/mol:

E0 = (-34.6,'kcal/mol')

The modes parameter is required for all unimolecular isomers and all bimolecular reactant channels. When specifying the modes parameter, define a list with the following types of degrees of freedom. To understand how to define these degrees of freedom, please click on the links below:

Translational degrees of freedom

Class Description
IdealGasTranslation A model of three-dimensional translation of an ideal gas

Rotational degrees of freedom

Class Description
LinearRotor A model of two-dimensional rigid rotation of a linear molecule
NonlinearRotor A model of three-dimensional rigid rotation of a nonlinear molecule
KRotor A model of one-dimensional rigid rotation of a K-rotor
SphericalTopRotor A model of three-dimensional rigid rotation of a spherical top molecule

Vibrational degrees of freedom

Class Description
HarmonicOscillator A model of a set of one-dimensional harmonic oscillators

Torsional degrees of freedom

Class Description
HinderedRotor A model of a one-dimensional hindered rotation

The spinMultiplicity is defined using an integer, and is set to 1 if not indicated in the species block.

spinMultiplicity = 2

Similarly, the opticalIsomers is also defined using an integer, and is set to 1 if not used in the species block.

opticalIsomers = 6

The molecularWeight parameter should be defined in the quantity format (value, 'units') , for example:

molecularWeight = (44.04, 'g/mol')

If the molecularWeight parameter is not given, it is calculated by CanTherm based off the chemical structure.

The collisionModel is defined with the transport data, if available, using a TransportData object:

collisionModel = TransportData(sigma=(3.70,'angstrom'), epsilon=(94.9,'K'))

The energyTransferModel model available is a SingleExponentialDown.

  • SingleExponentialDown - Specify alpha0, T0 and n for the average energy transferred in a deactiving collision

    \[\left< \Delta E_\mathrm{down} \right> = \alpha_0 \left( \frac{T}{T_0} \right)^n\]

An example of a typical energyTransferModel block is:

energyTransferModel = SingleExponentialDown(
        alpha0 = (0.5718,'kcal/mol'),
        T0 = (300,'K'),
        n = 0.85,

The following is an example of a typical species item, based on the acetylperoxy radical \(\ce{CH3C(=O)OO.}\):

    label = 'acetylperoxy',
    structure = SMILES('CC(=O)O[O]'),
    E0 = (-34.6,'kcal/mol'),
    modes = [
        NonlinearRotor(inertia=([54.2977,104.836,156.05],"amu*angstrom^2"), symmetry=1),
        HinderedRotor(inertia=(7.38359,"amu*angstrom^2"), symmetry=1, fourier=([[-1.95191,-11.8215,0.740041,-0.049118,-0.464522],[0.000227764,0.00410782,-0.000805364,-0.000548218,-0.000266277]],"kJ/mol")),
        HinderedRotor(inertia=(2.94723,"amu*angstrom^2"), symmetry=3, fourier=([[0.130647,0.0401507,-2.54582,-0.0436065,-0.120982],[-0.000701659,-0.000989654,0.00783349,-0.00140978,-0.00145843]],"kJ/mol")),
    spinMultiplicity = 2,
    opticalIsomers = 1,
    molecularWeight = (75.04,"g/mol"),
    collisionModel = TransportData(sigma=(5.09,'angstrom'), epsilon=(473,'K')),
    energyTransferModel = SingleExponentialDown(
        alpha0 = (0.5718,'kcal/mol'),
        T0 = (300,'K'),
        n = 0.85,

4.3. Transition States

Transition states for reactions in the pressure dependent network should be defined very similarly to species using a transitionState block, however it has less parameters:

Parameter Description
label A unique string label used as an identifier
E0 The ground-state energy (including zero-point energy)
modes The molecular degrees of freedom (same as for species, see above)
spinMultiplicity The ground-state spin multiplicity (degeneracy), sets to 1 by default if not used
opticalIsomers The number of optical isomers of the species, sets to 1 by default if not used
frequency The negative frequency of the first-order saddle point

An example of a transitionState block is shown below.

    label = 'isom1',
    E0 = (-5.8,'kcal/mol'),
    modes = [
        NonlinearRotor(inertia=([49.3418,103.697,149.682],"u*angstrom**2"), symmetry=1, quantum=False),
        HarmonicOscillator(frequencies=([148.551,306.791,484.573,536.709,599.366,675.538,832.594,918.413,1022.28,1031.45,1101.01,1130.05,1401.51,1701.26,1844.17,3078.6,3163.07],"cm^-1"), quantum=True),
    spinMultiplicity = 2,
    opticalIsomers = 1,
    frequency = (-1679.04,'cm^-1'),

4.4. Path Reactions

Each path reaction - a reaction directly connecting two molecular configurations in the network - is specified using a reaction() block. The following parameters are available:

Parameter Required? Description
label All reactions A name for the reaction
reactants All reactions A list of reactant species
products All reactions A list of product species
transitionState All reactions The transition state
kinetics Optional The high pressure-limit kinetics for the reaction
tunneling Optional The type of tunneling model (either ‘Eckhart’ or ‘Wigner’) to use for tunneling through the reaction barrier

A typical reaction block might look like this.

    label = 'isom1',
    reactants = ['acetylperoxy'],
    products = ['hydroperoxylvinoxy'],
    transitionState = 'isom1',
    kinetics = Arrhenius(A=(2.65e6,'m^3/(mol*s)'), n=0.0, Ea=(0.0,'kcal/mol'), T0=(1,"K")),
    tunneling = 'Eckart',

Note that the reactants and products must have been previously declared using a species block, using the same name labels. Transition states must also be previously declared using a transitionState block.

4.5. Network

A declaration for the overall network must be given using the network block.

This includes setting the following paramters:

Parameter Description
label A name for the network
isomers A list of species participating in unimolecular reaction channels
reactants A list of the species that participate in bimolecular reactant channels
bathGas A dictionary of bath gases and their respective mole fractions, adding up to 1.0

CanTherm is largely able to determine the molecular configurations that define the potential energy surface for your reaction network simply by inspecting the path reactions. However, you must indicate which unimolecular and bimolecular configurations you wish to include in the master equation formulation; all others will be treated as irreversible sinks.

Note that all species and bath gases used in the network block must have been previously declared with the same name labels in a previous species block in the input file.

You do not need to specify the product channels (infinite sinks) in this manner, as any configuration not marked as an isomer or reactant channel will be treated as a product channel. An example of the network block is shown below.

    label = 'acetyl + O2',
    isomers = [
    reactants = [
        ('acetyl', 'oxygen'),
    bathGas = {
        'nitrogen': 0.4,
        'argon': 0.6,

4.6. Algorithm Parameters

The overall parameters for the pressure-dependence calculation must be defined in a pressureDependence block at the end of the input file. The following parameters are necessary:

Parameter Description
label Use the name for the network declared previously
method Method to use for calculating the pdep network. Use either ‘modified strong collision’, ‘reservoir state’, or ‘chemically-significant eigenvalues’
interpolationModel Select the output type for the pdep kinetics, either in ‘chebyshev’ or ‘pdeparrhenius’ (plog) format
activeKRotor A flag indicating whether to treat the K-rotor as active or adiabatic
activeJRotor A flag indicating whether to treat the J-rotor as active or adiabatic

Additionally, temperature/pressure ranges and energy grain sizes must be given.

Temperature and Pressure Ranges

CanTherm will compute the \(k(T,P)\) values on a grid of temperature and pressure points. Tmin, Tmax, and Tcount values, as well as Pmin, Pmax, and Pcount parameter values must be provided. CanTherm will automatically choose the intermediate temperatures based on the interpolation model you wish to fit. This is the recommended approach.

Energy Grains Determine the fineness of the energy grains to be used in the master equation calculations. Dictate the maximumGrainSize, and the minimumGrainCount.

An example of the algorithm parameters block for the acetyl + O2 network is shown below.

    label='acetyl + O2',
    Tmin=(300.0,'K'), Tmax=(2000.0,'K'), Tcount=8,
    Pmin=(0.01,'bar'), Pmax=(100.0,'bar'), Pcount=5,
    maximumGrainSize = (1.0,'kcal/mol'),
    minimumGrainCount = 250,
    method = 'modified strong collision',
    #method = 'reservoir state',
    #method = 'chemically-significant eigenvalues',
    interpolationModel = ('chebyshev', 6, 4),
    #interpolationModel = ('pdeparrhenius'),
    #activeKRotor = True,
    activeJRotor = True,

4.7. Examples

Perhaps the best way to learn the input file syntax is by example. To that end, a number of example input files and their corresponding output have been given in the examples/cantherm/networks directory, which includes both an acetyl+O2 and n-butanol example.