[en] Transition state theory ; Reaction dynamics ; Saddle point ; Classical trajectories ; Reactivity criterion ; Reactive phase space ; Wave packet dynamics

[en] The purpose of the present work is to determine initial conditions that generate reacting, recrossing-free trajectories that cross the conventional dividing surface of transition state theory (i.e., the plane in configuration space passing through a saddle point of the potential energy surface and perpendicular to the reaction coordinate) without ever returning to it. Local analytical equations of motion valid in the neighborhood of this planar surface have been derived as an expansion in Poisson brackets. We show that the mere presence of a saddle point implies that reactivity criteria can be quite simply formulated in terms of elements of this series, irrespective of the shape of the potential energy function. Some of these elements are demonstrated to be equal to a sum of squares and thus to be necessarily positive, which has a profound impact on the dynamics. The method is then applied to a three-dimensional model describing an atom-diatom interaction. A particular relation between initial conditions is shown to generate a bundle of reactive trajectories that form reactive cylinders (or conduits) in phase space. This relation considerably reduces the phase space volume of initial conditions that generate recrossing-free trajectories. Loci in phase space of reactive initial conditions are presented. Reactivity is influenced by symmetry, as shown by a comparative study of collinear and bent transition states. Finally, it is argued that the rules that have been derived to generate reactive trajectories in classical mechanics are also useful to build up a reactive wave packet.