Journal of Molecular Modeling

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 2035–2041 | Cite as

Nature of halogen bonding. A study based on the topological analysis of the Laplacian of the electron charge density and an energy decomposition analysis

  • Darío J. R. Duarte
  • Gladis L. Sosa
  • Nélida M. PeruchenaEmail author
Original Paper


In this work we investigate the nature of the Cl···N interactions in complexes formed between substituted ammonium [NHn(X3-n) (with n = 0, 1, 2, 3 and X = −CH3, −F] as Lewis bases and F−Cl molecule as Lewis acid. They have been chosen as a study case due to the wide range of variation of their binding energies, BEs. Møller-Plesset [MP2/6-311++G(2d,2p)] calculations show that the BEs for this set of complexes lie in the range from 1.27 kcal/mol (in F−Cl···NF3) to 27.62 kcal/mol [in F−Cl···N(CH3)3]. The intermolecular distribution of the electronic charge density and their L(r) = −¼∇2ρ(r) function have been investigated within the framework of the atoms in molecules (AIM) theory. The intermolecular interaction energy decomposition has also been analyzed using the reduced variational space (RVS) method. The topological analysis of the L(r) function reveals that the local topological properties measured at the (3,+1) critical point [in L(r) topology] are good descriptors of the strength of the halogen bonding interactions. The results obtained from energy decomposition analysis indicate that electrostatic interactions play a key role in these halogen bonding interactions. These results allow us to establish that, when the halogen atom is bonded to a group with high electron-withdrawing capacity, the electrostatic interaction between the electron cloud of the Lewis base and the halogen atom unprotected nucleus of the Lewis acid produces the formation and determines the geometry of the halogen bonded complexes. In addition, a good linear relationship has been established between: the natural logarithm of the BEs and the electrostatic interaction energy between electron charge distribution of N atom and nucleus of Cl atom, denoted as V e-n(N,Cl) within the AIM theory.


Interaction energy components for FCl···NH3 complex in function of the chlorinenitrogen separation distance.


AIM Charge density Halogen bond Laplacian σ-hole 



The authors acknowledge SECYT-UNNE (Secretaría de Ciencia y Tecnología – Universidad Nacional del Nordeste), Grant PICTO (Proyecto de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica Orientado) 089 and PIP CONICET (Proyecto de Investigación Plurianual–Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas) 095, for financial support. Darío Jorge Roberto Duarte is fellows of CONICET UNNE and Nélida Maria Peruhena is a career researcher of CONICET, Argentine.

Supplementary material

894_2012_1624_MOESM1_ESM.doc (137 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 137 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darío J. R. Duarte
    • 1
  • Gladis L. Sosa
    • 2
  • Nélida M. Peruchena
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Estructura Molecular y Propiedades, Área de Química Física, Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales y AgrimensuraUniversidad Nacional del NordesteCorrientesArgentina
  2. 2.Facultad Regional ResistenciaUniversidad Tecnológica NacionalResistenciaArgentina

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