Calculation of crystal optical properties from molecular electron density

Macchi, Piero; Rezende dos Santos, Leonardo Humberto; Krawczuk, Anna Malgorzata (2013). Calculation of crystal optical properties from molecular electron density. In: Meeting of the Italian Spanish and Swiss Crystallographic Associations. Como, Italy. 9-12 September 2013.

We have recently developed a method to obtain distributed atomic polarizabilities adopting a partitioning of the molecular electron density (for example, the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules, [1]), calculated with or without an applied electric field. The procedure [2] allows to obtained atomic polarizability tensors, which are perfectly exportable, because quite representative of an atom in a given functional group. Among the many applications of this idea, the calculation of crystal susceptibility is easily available, either from a rough estimation (the polarizability of the isolated molecule is used) or from a more precise estimation (the polarizability of a molecule embedded in a cluster representing the first coordination sphere is used). Lorentz factor is applied to include the long range effect of packing, which is enhancing the molecular polarizability. Simple properties like linear refractive index or the gyration tensor can be calculated at relatively low costs and with good precision. This approach is particularly useful within the field of crystal engineering of organic/organometallic materials, because it would allow a relatively easy prediction of a property as a function of the packing, thus allowing "reverse crystal engineering". Examples of some amino acid crystals and salts of amino acids [3] will be illustrated, together with other crystallographic or non-crystallographic applications. For example, the induction and dispersion energies of intermolecular interactions could be calculated with superior precision (allowing anisotropic van der Waals interactions). This could allow revision of some commonly misunderstood intermolecular interactions, like the halogen bonding (see for example the recent remarks by Stone or Gilli [4]). Moreover, the chemical reactivity of coordination complexes could be reinvestigated, by coupling the conventional analysis of the electrostatic potential (useful only in the circumstances of hard nucleophilic/electrophilic interaction) with the distributed atomic polarizability. The enhanced reactivity of coordinated organic ligands would be better appreciated. [1] R. F. W. Bader, Atoms in Molecules: A Quantum Theory. Oxford Univ. Press, 1990. [2] A. Krawczuk-Pantula, D. Pérez, K. Stadnicka, P. Macchi, Trans. Amer. Cryst. Ass. 2011, 1-25 [3] A. S. Chimpri1, M. Gryl, L. H.R. Dos Santos1, A. Krawczuk, P. Macchi Crystal Growth & Design, in the press. [4] a) A. J. Stone, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 7005−7009; b) V. Bertolasi, P. Gilli, G. Gilli Crystal Growth & Design, 2013, 12, 4758-4770.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


08 Faculty of Science > Departement of Chemistry and Biochemistry

UniBE Contributor:

Macchi, Piero; Rezende dos Santos, Leonardo Humberto and Krawczuk, Anna Malgorzata


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation


[168] Properties of organometallic molecular materials from accurate electron density distribution


Piero Macchi

Date Deposited:

10 Apr 2014 15:15

Last Modified:

10 Apr 2014 15:18


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