Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Caroline Morgan


Calculations of the positron density distribution which can be used for positrons bound to midsize and larger molecules have been tested for smaller molecules and subsequently applied to investigate the most likely e+e- annihilation sites for positrons interacting with biological molecules containing C, H, O, and N. In order to allow consideration of positrons bound to extended molecules with regions of different character and no particular symmetry, atom-centered positron basis sets of Gaussian-type functions were developed for positrons bound to molecules containing O, N, C, H, Li, Na, and Be. Testing shows that there is no need to scale the positron basis functions to take into account different effective charges on the atoms in different molecules.

Even at the HF level of theory the calculated positron and the contact density of e+LiH system is in qualitative agreement with the most accurate calculation was done in ECG method. Also it has been found that for larger biological molecules such as derivation of formaldehyde can leave out positron basis sets centered on H atoms and still get qualitatively acceptable contact density distribution.

According to our results, the electronic and positronic wavefunctions have the most overlap in the regions of most negative electrostatic potential in the parent molecule, and we can expect that a positron bound to the molecule will be more likely to annihilate with one of the electrons in these regions. Also we find that the highest energy occupied electronic orbital often does not make the largest contribution to e+e- annihilation, and that the energy liberated by subsequent electronic relaxation is sufficient to break the backbone in several places in di-peptides and other organic molecules.