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On The Nature of the Halogen Bond

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journal contribution
posted on 09.09.2014, 00:00 by Changwei Wang, David Danovich, Yirong Mo, Sason Shaik
The wide-ranging applications of the halogen bond (X-bond), notably in self-assembling materials and medicinal chemistry, have placed this weak intermolecular interaction in a center of great deal of attention. There is a need to elucidate the physical nature of the halogen bond for better understanding of its similarity and differences vis-à-vis other weak intermolecular interactions, for example, hydrogen bond, as well as for developing improved force-fields to simulate nano- and biomaterials involving X-bonds. This understanding is the focus of the present study that combines the insights of a bottom-up approach based on ab initio valence bond (VB) theory and the block-localized wave function (BLW) theory that uses monomers to reconstruct the wave function of a complex. To this end and with an aim of unification, we studied the nature of X-bonds in 55 complexes using the combination of VB and BLW theories. Our conclusion is clear-cut; most of the X-bonds are held by charge transfer interactions (i.e., intermolecular hyperconjugation) as envisioned more than 60 years ago by Mulliken. This is consistent with the experimental and computational findings that X-bonds are more directional than H-bonds. Furthermore, the good linear correlation between charge transfer energies and total interaction energies partially accounts for the success of simple force fields in the simulation of large systems involving X-bonds.