Comparison of P∙∙∙D (D=P,N) with Other Noncovalent Bonds in Molecular Aggregates

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J. Chem. Phys.

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All the minima on the potential energy surfaces of homotrimers and tetramers of PH(3) are identified and analyzed as to the source of their stability. The same is done with mixed trimers in which one PH(3) molecule is replaced by either NH(3) or PFH(2). The primary noncovalent attraction in all global minima is the BP···D (D = N,P) bond which is characterized by the transfer of charge from a lone pair of the donor D to a σ∗ B-P antibond of the partner molecule which is turned away from D, the same force earlier identified in the pertinent dimers. Examination of secondary minima reveals the presence of other weaker forces, some of which do not occur within the dimers. Examples of the latter include PH···P, NH···P, and PH···F H-bonds, and "reverse" H-bonds in which the source of the electron density is the smaller tail lobe of the donor lone pair. The global minima are cyclic structures in all cases, and exhibit some cooperativity, albeit to a small degree. The energy spacing of the oligomers is much smaller than that in the corresponding strongly H-bonded complexes such as the water trimer.

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