A cartography of the van der Waals territories

Dalton Trans. 2013 Jun 28;42(24):8617-36. doi: 10.1039/c3dt50599e. Epub 2013 May 1.

Abstract

The distribution of distances from atoms of a particular element E to a probe atom X (oxygen in most cases), both bonded and intermolecular non-bonded contacts, has been analyzed. In general, the distribution is characterized by a maximum at short E···X distances corresponding to chemical bonds, followed by a range of unpopulated distances--the van der Waals gap--and a second maximum at longer distances--the van der Waals peak--superimposed on a random distribution function that roughly follows a d(3) dependence. The analysis of more than five million interatomic "non-bonded" distances has led to the proposal of a consistent set of van der Waals radii for most naturally occurring elements, and its applicability to other element pairs has been tested for a set of more than three million data, all of them compared to over one million bond distances.