American Chemical Society
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X‑ray Constrained Extremely Localized Molecular Orbitals: Theory and Critical Assessment of the New Technique

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-07-09, 00:00 authored by Alessandro Genoni
Following the X-ray constrained wave function approach proposed by Jayatilaka, we have devised a new technique that allows to extract molecular orbitals strictly localized on small molecular fragments from sets of experimental X-ray structure factors amplitudes. Since the novel strategy enables to obtain electron distributions that have quantum mechanical features and that can be easily interpreted in terms of traditional chemical concepts, the method can be also considered as a new useful tool for the determination and the analysis of charge densities from high-resolution X-ray experiments. In this paper, we describe in detail the theory of the new technique, which, in comparison to our preliminary work, has been improved both treating the effects of isotropic secondary extinctions and introducing a new protocol to halt the fitting procedure against the experimental X-ray scattering data. The performances of the novel strategy have been studied both in function of the basis-sets flexibility and in function of the quality of the considered crystallographic data. The tests performed on four different systems (α-glycine, l-cysteine, (aminomethyl)­phosphonic acid and N-(trifluoromethyl)­formamide) have shown that the achievement of good statistical agreements with the experimental measures mainly depends on the quality of the crystal structures (i.e., geometry positions and thermal parameters) used in the X-ray constrained calculations. Finally, given the reliable transferability of the obtained Extremely Localized Molecular Orbitals (ELMOs), we envisage to exploit the novel approach to construct new ELMOs databases suited to the development of linear-scaling methods for the refinement of macromolecular crystal structures.