Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Randall W. Hall


We find optimal atomic and electronic structures for neutral and singly, positively charged clusters of beryllium and beryllium-lithium (of the form BeLik) using density functional theory in the local spin density approximation. Ions are moved with a steepest descent method, and the electronic wave functions optimized using a fictitious dynamics with simulated annealing, as conceived by Car and Parrinello. Shell-like orbitals, filling angular momentum states in the order: 1s 2p 2s 1d, are obtained for the beryllium clusters. The same ordering is found for the BeLik clusters which indicates a departure from the ordering found in pure alkali clusters by the lowering of the 2s level to below the 1d level due to the larger electron affinity of the Be impurity. We similarly calculate an atomic basis to which we relate these shell-like orbitals, and employ a Mulliken population analysis to visualize how the atomic orbitals might hybridize to create them. This analysis also allows us to observe an increasingly metallic behavior with cluster size, by associating the electron density distribution, and in the case of a charged cluster, the distribution of the hole, with atomic sites, and with regions of overlap between atom pairs. We quantitatively show the increase in density associated with bonding as cluster size increases, and the tendency of the hole to distribute itself near the most exterior atomic sites in clusters of high symmetry. Our results are compared with the predictions of the shell/jellium model in the context of our calculated binding energies and ionization potentials.