Exploring the Morse Potential©
Theresa Julia Zielinski
Department of Chemistry, Medical Technology, and Physics
Monmouth University
West Long Branch, NJ 07764-1898
United States
mail to: tzielins@monmouth.edu

In many texts the Morse potential for a bond or a diatomic molecule is not shown with units and students often wonder how the author generated the plot from the equations given in the text. Students also have difficulty with the units used when computing molecular or atomic properties such as the potential energy of a diatomic molecule. The goal of Exploring the Morse Potential is to provide hands on practice with the Morse potential energy function and the units used for calculating this potential. In the document is a step by step description of how to create the Morse potential function for HCl. Since units are used at every step, this document is an excellent showcase for the unit analysis power of Mathcad. The Mathcad unit handling feature makes the MorsePotential.mcd document a suitable device by which to emphasize the units used in atomic and molecular calculations. On the practical side, students can use this document to examine the behavior of the Morse potential as each parameter used to define this potential is varied. This allows students to develop a firm understanding about the relationship of each parameter to molecular properties such as bond length and dissociation energy. The document concludes with a series of exercises to reinforce student learning.

This document can be used in conjunction with the Iodine Spectrum document written by George Long and the Modeling Chemical Bonds with a Mathematical Function document written by Theresa Zielinski. This document was completed during the 1997 " Workshop for Integration of Numerical Methods into the Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Curriculum Using the Mathcad Software " at the University of South Alabama, Mobile Alabama.
Editor's Commentary
Audiences: Upper-Division Undergraduate
Pedagogies: Computer-Based Learning
Domains: Physical Chemistry
Topics: Mathematics / Symbolic Mathematics, Quantum Chemistry, Spectroscopy, UV-Vis Spectroscopy
File NameDescriptionSoftware TypeSoftware Version
MorsePotential.mcd JCE Mathcad Computational Document Mathcad
MorsePotential.pdf Mathcad Read-Only Document
Morse_nb.pdf Mathematica Read-Only Document
MorseMW.pdf Maple Read-Only Document for v6.
MorsePotential.mw JCE Maple worksheet v6 Maple 6
MorsePotential.nb JCE Mathematica notebook file, added August 2003 Mathematica
MorsePotential_mwV.mw JCE Maple worksheet for v5 Maple 5
MorsePotential_mwV.pdf Read-Only Document for Maple v5.
JCE JCE Subscribers only: name and password or institutional IP number access required.
Zielinski, T. J. J. Chem. Educ. 1998 75 1191.
Comments to: Theresa Julia Zielinski, tzielins@monmouth.edu
©Copyright 1998 Journal of Chemical Education