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Direct air capture of CO­2 – topological analysis of the experimental electron density (QTAIM) of the highly insoluble carbonate salt of a 2,6-pyridine-bis­(iminoguanidine), (PyBIGH2)(CO3)(H2O)4

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Chemical bonding and all intermolecular interactions in the highly insoluble carbonate salt of a 2,6-pyridine-bis(iminoguanidine), (PyBIGH2)(CO3)(H2O)4, recently employed in the direct air capture of CO2 via crystallization, have been analyzed within the framework of the quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM) based on the experimental electron density derived from X-ray diffraction data obtained at 20 K. Accurate hydrogen positions were included based on an analogous neutron diffraction study at 100 K. Topological features of the covalent bonds demonstrate the presence of multiple bonds of various orders within the PyBIGH22+ cation. Strong hydrogen bonds define ribbons comprising carbonate anions and water molecules. These ribbons are linked to stacks of essentially planar dications via hydrogen bonds from the guanidinium moieties and an additional one to the pyridine nitro­gen. The linking hydrogen bonds are approximately perpendicular to the anion–water ribbons. The observation of these putative interactions provided motivation to characterize them by topological analysis of the total electron density. Thus, all hydrogen bonds have been characterized by the properties of their (3,−1) bond critical points. Weaker interactions between the PyBIGH22+ cations have similarly been characterized. Integrated atomic charges are also reported. A small amount of cocrystallized hydroxide ion (∼2%) was also detected in both the X-ray and neutron data, and included in the multipole model for the electron-density refinement. The small amount of additional H+ required for charge balance was not detected in either the X-ray or the neutron data. The results are discussed in the context of the unusually low aqueous solubility of (PyBIGH2)(CO3)(H2O)4 and its ability to sequester atmospheric CO2.