
In this article we discuss several principles and tools which should expedite description of the electrostatic potentials and electrostatic interactions of molecules, and show that these also lead to some rather remarkable results in the theory of the irreducible representations of the full rotation group SO(3). First, by representing a molecule's chargedensity matrix over a basis of atomiclike orbitals (on the various atoms), we observe that outside its charge distribution the molecule's electrostatic potential is exactly the same as if that charge distribution were merely a sum (and in the case of a finite orbital basis, this is a finite sum) of point multipoles on each of the atomic centers and line multipoles on the line segments joining each of those atomic centers. Possible methods of approximating the field of these line charges and line multipoles, as if they were due to point charges and point multipoles, are discussed. The calculation of the interaction of point multipoles of high order, as is necessary for this procedure to successfully calculate the interaction of arbitrarily oriented molecules, motivates our second topic. Here we present a differential operator acting on that external field at the location of this multipole source. Irreducible representation matrices of the full rotation group are then used, together with these relations, to simplify the interaction of two arbitrarily oriented multipoles of any orders. Finally, we use the representation of the Condon and Shortley "raising and lowering" relations on eigenstates of the zcomponent of angular momentum, in an orientation that is not aligned with its fundamental basis states, to generate recursion relations that allow simple calculations of the irreducible representation matrices of the full rotation group, SO(3), and the special unitary group, SU(2). From these recursion relations we display some useful symmetry properties of our parameterization of these matrices, that allow the entire matrix to be very simply generated from an explicit calculation of only about 1/8 of its elements.

