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Comparative Strengths of Tetrel, Pnicogen, Chalcogen, and Halogen Bonds and Contributing Factors

The Laboratory of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Yantai University, Yantai 264005, China
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-0300, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1681;
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 8 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tetrel Bonds)
PDF [1916 KB, uploaded 10 July 2018]


Ab initio calculations are employed to assess the relative strengths of various noncovalent bonds. Tetrel, pnicogen, chalcogen, and halogen atoms are represented by third-row atoms Ge, As, Se, and Br, respectively. Each atom was placed in a series of molecular bonding situations, beginning with all H atoms, then progressing to methyl substitutions, and F substituents placed in various locations around the central atom. Each Lewis acid was allowed to engage in a complex with NH3 as a common nucleophile, and the strength and other aspects of the dimer were assessed. In the context of fully hydrogenated acids, the strengths of the various bonds varied in the pattern of chalcogen > halogen > pnicogen ≈ tetrel. Methyl substitution weakened all bonds, but not in a uniform manner, resulting in a greatly weakened halogen bond. Fluorosubstitution strengthened the interactions, increasing its effect as the number of F atoms rises. The effect was strongest when the F atom lay directly opposite the base, resulting in a halogen > chalcogen > pnicogen > tetrel order of bond strength. Replacing third-row atoms by their second-row counterparts weakened the bonds, but not uniformly. Tetrel bonds were weakest for the fully hydrogenated acids and surpassed pnicogen bonds when F had been added to the acid. View Full-Text
Keywords: halogen bond; chalcogen bond; pnicogen bond; tetrel bond halogen bond; chalcogen bond; pnicogen bond; tetrel bond

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dong, W.; Li, Q.; Scheiner, S. Comparative Strengths of Tetrel, Pnicogen, Chalcogen, and Halogen Bonds and Contributing Factors. Molecules 2018, 23, 1681.

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