The effects of experimentally obtained electron correlation and polarization on electron densities and exchange-correlation potentials

J Chem Phys. 2023 Mar 28;158(12):124103. doi: 10.1063/5.0138312.


In X-ray constrained wavefunction (XCW) fitting, external information, such as electron correlation and polarization, is included into a single-determinantal isolated-molecule wavefunction. In a first step, we show that the extraction of these two physical effects by XCW fitting is complete and accurate by comparing to theoretical reference calculations. In a second step, we show that fitting to data from single-crystal x-ray diffraction measurements provides the same results qualitatively and how the physical effects can be separated, although always inherently convolved in the experiment. We further demonstrate that exchange-correlation potentials are systematically affected by XCW fitting in a physically meaningful way, which could be exploited for method development in quantum chemistry, subject to some remaining challenges that we also outline.