Chromium aromatic hydrocarbon sandwich molecules and the eighteen-electron rule

Michael R. Philpott, Yoshiyuki Kawazoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Ab initio density functional theory (DFT) calculations are reported for the chromium sandwich structure CrnR2, where n = 7 and R is the aromatic hydrocarbon hexabenzocoronene (C42H18). This system is remarkable in that the structure of the chromium sites strongly resemble those in chromium bis-benzene Cr1(C6H 6)2, as judged by geometry and charge density properties. The electron localization function of the sandwich shows a hexagonally arrayed set of V(C, Cr, C) valence basins about each chromium atom with modification due to local site symmetry. This system satisfies an extension of the 18-electron rule to components of a conjugated molecular system. This idea is explored further by examining the electronic and geometric properties of the series Crn,R2, where n and R are given by n = 1, benzene C 6H6 as reference; n = 2, biphenyl (C6H 5)2; n = 3, triphenylene C18H12; n = 3, coronene C24H18; and n = 4, dibenzopyrene C 24H14. On the basis of electron counting and ring isolation, all the sandwich structures in this series could satisfy the extension of the 18-electron rule, with the exception of coronene, which was deliberately included. The DFT calculations predict spin-paired ground states for some but not all of the sandwich structures, implying that the Cr-ring interactions at work require understanding at a deeper level. Thus, while sandwiches with n = 1, n = 2, n = 4 and n = 7 have spin paired singlet ground states and appear to satisfy the rule, those with n = 3 (triphenylene, coronene) have antiferromagnetic singlet ground states and do not. This is attributed to nonuniformity in the electronic charge density of the rings of the isolated hydrocarbons and to a reduction of symmetry from D3h to C 2v with a concomitant spin-charge density change in the sandwiches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2034-2042
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar 13


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