The carbon-lithium electron pair bond in (CH3Li)(n) (n=1, 2, 4)

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Bickelhaupt M, van Eikema Hommes N, Fonseca Guerra C, Baerends EJ
Journal: Organometallics
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Publication year: 1996
Volume: 15
Journal issue: 13
Pages range: 2923-2931
ISSN: 0276-7333


The monomer, dimer, and tetramer of methyllithium, (CH3Li)(n) (n = 1, 2, 4), have been studied with use of density-functional (DFT) and conventional ab initio theory. The energy gain Delta E associated with the formation of (CH3-Li)(n) from n Li-. and n CH3(.) radicals is -45.5, -132.7, and -308.6 kcal/mol for n = 1, 2, and 4 using nonlocal density-functionals and a large, doubly polarized triple-zeta STO basis (NL-SCF/TZ2P). The corresponding dimerization and tetramerization. energies for methyllithium are -41.7 and -126.6 kcal/mol, respectively. The 298 K heat of formation of CH3Li(g) is calculated to be 29.2 kcal/mol, using experimental Delta H-f values for CH3.(g) and Li-.(g). The low-energy lithium 2p orbitals are shown to play an active role in the bonding of the methyllithium aggregates and can be viewed as valence orbitals. A detailed analysis of the carbon-lithium bonding mechanism highlights the significant role of covalent contributions. In CH3Li, we find a strongly polar C-Li electron pair bond in which charge is donated from Li 2s to the CH3 2a(1)-SOMO. The covalent character is indicated by 2s +/- 2a(1) mixing and a sizable lithium 2p(z) participation. In (CH3-Li)(4) the carbon-lithium bond is provided by two distinct orbital interactions: (1) an essentially covalent electron pair bond between the strongly sp hybridized Li-Li and C-C bonding fragment orbitals of the lithium cluster and the methyl cage, respectively, in Al symmetry; (2) a strongly polar electron pair bond between the corresponding triply degenerate Li-Li and C-C antibonding fragment orbital sets in T-2 symmetry. The situation is similar for(CH3Li)(2). The electron density is analyzed using atomic charges from the following: (1) the natural population analysis (NPA); (2) the Hirshfeld method; (3) the Mulliken method as well as a modification which we term Modified Mulliken; (4) a scheme which we designate Voronoi deformation density (VDD); the VDD charges monitor the shift of electron density out of (Q > 0) or into (Q < 0) the Voronoi cell of an atom upon formation of the molecule from the isolated atoms. The degree of ionicity of the carbon-lithium bond decreases from ca. ''50'' down to ''30%'' along CH3Li, (CH3Li)(2), and (CH3Li)(4), according to the Hirshfeld charges. This agrees with a similar trend emerging from the VDD charges as well as with the results of the electronic structure analysis. The NPA charges suggest that the carbon-lithium bond is ca. ''90%'' ionic and that the degree of ionicity is independent of the size of the aggregate.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

van Eikema Hommes, Nico Dr.

External institutions
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) / University Amsterdam

How to cite

Bickelhaupt, M., van Eikema Hommes, N., Fonseca Guerra, C., & Baerends, E.-J. (1996). The carbon-lithium electron pair bond in (CH3Li)(n) (n=1, 2, 4). Organometallics, 15(13), 2923-2931.

Bickelhaupt, Matthias, et al. "The carbon-lithium electron pair bond in (CH3Li)(n) (n=1, 2, 4)." Organometallics 15.13 (1996): 2923-2931.


Last updated on 2018-06-08 at 21:14