The Volumetric Source Function: Looking Inside van der Waals Interactions

Christian Tantardini, Adam A.L. Michalchuk, Artem Samtsevich, Carlo Rota, Alexander G. Kvashnin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The study of van der Waals interactions plays a central role in the understanding of bonding across a range of biological, chemical and physical phenomena. The presence of van der Waals interactions can be identified through analysis of the reduced density gradient, a fundamental parameter at the core of Density Functional Theory. An extension of Bader’s Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules is developed here through combination with the analysis of the reduced density gradient. Through this development, a new quantum chemical topological tool is presented: the volumetric source function. This technique allows insight into the atomic composition of van der Waals interactions, offering the first route towards applying the highly successful source function to these disperse interactions. A new algorithm has been implemented in the open-source code, CRITIC2, and tested on acetone, adipic and maleic acids molecular crystals, each stabilized by van der Waals interactions. This novel technique for studying van der Waals interactions at an atomic level offers unprecedented opportunities in the fundamental study of intermolecular interactions and molecular design for crystal engineering, drug design and bio-macromolecular processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7816
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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