DORI Reveals the Influence of Noncovalent Interactions on Covalent Bonding Patterns in Molecular Crystals Under Pressure

Benjamin Meyer, Senja Barthel, Amber Mace, Laurent Vannay, Benoit Guillot, Berend Smit, Clémence Corminboeuf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The study of organic molecular crystals under high pressure provides fundamental insight into crystal packing distortions and reveals mechanisms of phase transitions and the crystallization of polymorphs. These solid-state transformations can be monitored directly by analyzing electron charge densities that are experimentally obtained at high pressure. However, restricting the analysis to the featureless electron density does not reveal the chemical bonding nature and the existence of intermolecular interactions. This shortcoming can be resolved by the use of the DORI (density overlap region indicator) descriptor, which is capable of simultaneously detecting both covalent patterns and noncovalent interactions from electron density and its derivatives. Using the biscarbonyl[14]annulene crystal under pressure as an example, we demonstrate how DORI can be exploited on experimental electron densities to reveal and monitor changes in electronic structure patterns resulting from molecular compression. A novel approach based on a flood-fill-type algorithm is proposed for analyzing the topology of the DORI isosurface. This approach avoids the arbitrary selection of DORI isovalues and provides an intuitive way to assess how compression packing affects covalent bonding in organic solids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1488
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

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