The nature of the bonding of a series of gas-phase all-metal clusters containing the Al4 unit attached to an alkaline, alkaline earth, or transition metal is investigated at the DFT level using Mulliken, quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM), and Hirshfeld iterative (Hirshfeld-I) atomic partitionings. The characterization of ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds is done by means of charge polarization and multicenter electron derealization. This Article uses for the first time Hirshfeld-I multicenter indices as well as Hirshfeld-I based atomic energy calculations. The QTAIM charges are in line with the electronegativity scale, whereas Hirshfeld-I calculations display deviations for transition metal clusters. The Mulliken charges fail to represent the charge polarization in alkaline metal clusters. The large ionic character of Li-Al and Na-Al bonds results in weak covalent bonds. On the contrary, scarcely ionic bonds (Be-Al, Cu-Al and Zn-Al) display stronger covalent bonds. These findings are in line with the topology of the electron density. The metallic character of these clusters is reflected in large 3-, 4- and 5-center electron derealization, which is found for all the molecular fragments using the three atomic definitions. The previously reported magnetic inactivity (based on means of magnetic ring currents) of the π system in the Al4 2- cluster contrasts with its large π electron derealization. However, it is shown that the different results not necessary contradict each other.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry