This article surveys the empirical information which originated both by laboratory experiments and by computational simulations, and expands previous understanding of the rates of chemical processes in the low-temperature range, where deviations from linearity of Arrhenius plots were revealed. The phenomenological two-parameter Arrhenius equation requires improvement for applications where interpolation or extrapolations are demanded in various areas of modern science. Based on Tolman's theorem, the dependence of the reciprocal of the apparent activation energy as a function of reciprocal absolute temperature permits the introduction of a deviation parameter d covering uniformly a variety of rate processes, from those where quantum mechanical tunnelling is significant and d < 0, to those where d > 0, corresponding to the Pareto–Tsallis statistical weights: these generalize the Boltzmann–Gibbs weight, which is recovered for d = 0. It is shown here how the weights arise, relaxing the thermodynamic equilibrium limit, either for a binomial distribution if d > 0 or for a negative binomial distribution if d < 0, formally corresponding to Fermion-like or Boson-like statistics, respectively. The current status of the phenomenology is illustrated emphasizing case studies; specifically (i) the super-Arrhenius kinetics, where transport phenomena accelerate processes as the temperature increases; (ii) the sub-Arrhenius kinetics, where quantum mechanical tunnelling propitiates low-temperature reactivity; (iii) the anti-Arrhenius kinetics, where processes with no energetic obstacles are rate-limited by molecular reorientation requirements. Particular attention is given for case (i) to the treatment of diffusion and viscosity, for case (ii) to formulation of a transition rate theory for chemical kinetics including quantum mechanical tunnelling, and for case (iii) to the stereodirectional specificity of the dynamics of reactions strongly hindered by the increase of temperature.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Theoretical and computational studies of non-equilibrium and non-statistical dynamics in the gas phase, in the condensed phase and at interfaces’.
One contribution of 11 to a theme issue ‘Theoretical and computational studies of non-equilibrium and non-statistical dynamics in the gas phase, in the condensed phase and at interfaces’.
- Accepted December 14, 2016.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.