Bond length and radii variations in fluoride and oxide molecules and crystals

J. S. Nicoll, G. V. Gibbs, M. B. Boisen, R. T. Downs, K. L. Bartelmehs

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21 Scopus citations


Molecular orbital calculations completed on fluoride molecules containing first and second row cations have generated bond lengths, R, that match those observed for coordinated polyhedra in crystals to within ∼0.04 Å, on average. The calculated bond lengths and those observed for fluoride crystals can be ranked with the expression R=Kp-0.22, where p=s/r, s is the Pauling strength of the bond, r is the row number of the cation and K=1.34. The exponent -0.22 (≈ -2/9) is the same as that observed for oxide, nitride and sulfide molecules and crystals. Bonded radii for the fluoride anion, obtained from theoretical electron density maps, increase linearly with bond length. Those calculated for the cations as well as for the fluoride anion match calculated promolecule radii to within ∼0.03 Å, on average, suggesting that the electron density distributions in the vicinity of the minima along the bond paths possess a significant atomic component despite bond type. Bonded radii for Si and O ions provided by experimental electron density maps measured for the oxides coesite, danburite and stishovite match those calculated for a series of monosilicic acid molecules. The resulting radii increase with bond length and coordination number with the radius of the oxide ion increasing at a faster rate than that of the Si cation. The oxide ion within danburite exhibits several distinct radii, ranging between 0.9 and 1.2 Å, rather than a single radius with each exhibiting a different radius along each of the nonequivalent bonds with B, Si and Ca. Promolecule radii calculated for the coordinated polyhedra in danburite match procrystal radii obtained in a structure analysis to within 0.002 Å. The close agreement between these two sets of radii and experimentally determined bonded radii lends credence to Slater's statement that the difference between the electron density distribution observed for a crystal and that calculated for a procrystal (IAM) model of the crystal "would be small and subtle, and very hard to determine by examination of the total charge density."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-624
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of Minerals
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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