The laboratory study of phosphorus clusters by laser-based mass spectrometric methods indicates, tentatively, that P+ 21 may be special. A plausible interpretation might place a P+ ion interior to a dodecahedral P20 molecule. Ab initio quantum mechanical methods have been applied to the P20 molecule using contracted gaussian basis sets as large as (9 s 6 p 4 d 3 f) on each phosphorus atom. At the highest level of theory, dodecahedral P20 is predicted to lie 23 kcal/mol above five separated P4 molecules.
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