Understanding hydrogen-bonding structures of molecular crystals via electron and NMR nanocrystallography

Candelaria Guzmán-Afonso, You lee Hong, Henri Colaux, Hirofumi Iijima, Akihiro Saitow, Takuma Fukumura, Yoshitaka Aoyama, Souhei Motoki, Tetsuo Oikawa, Toshio Yamazaki, Koji Yonekura, Yusuke Nishiyama

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding hydrogen-bonding networks in nanocrystals and microcrystals that are too small for X-ray diffractometry is a challenge. Although electron diffraction (ED) or electron 3D crystallography are applicable to determining the structures of such nanocrystals owing to their strong scattering power, these techniques still lead to ambiguities in the hydrogen atom positions and misassignments of atoms with similar atomic numbers such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Here, we propose a technique combining ED, solid-state NMR (SSNMR), and first-principles quantum calculations to overcome these limitations. The rotational ED method is first used to determine the positions of the non-hydrogen atoms, and SSNMR is then applied to ascertain the hydrogen atom positions and assign the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms via the NMR signals for 1H, 13C, 14N, and 15N with the aid of quantum computations. This approach elucidates the hydrogen-bonding networks in l-histidine and cimetidine form B whose structure was previously unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3537
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1


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