The concept of the reaction force is presented and discussed in detail. For typical processes with energy barriers, it has a universal form which defines three key points along an intrinsic reaction coordinate: the force minimum, zero and maximum. We suggest that the resulting four zones be interpreted as involving preparation of reactants in the first, transition to products in the second and third, and relaxation in the fourth. This general picture is supported by the distinctive patterns of the variations in relevant electronic properties. Two important points that are brought out by the reaction force are that (a) the traditional activation energy comprises two separate contributions, and (b) the transition state corresponds to a balance between the driving and the retarding forces.
Volume 134, 2022
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