Performance of 3D-space-based atoms-in-molecules methods for electronic delocalization aromaticity indices

Several definitions of an atom in a molecule (AIM) in three-dimensional (3D) space, including both fuzzy and disjoint domains, are used to calculate electron sharing indices (ESI) and related electronic aromaticity measures, namely, Iringand multicenter indices (MCI), for a wide set of cyclic planar aromatic and nonaromatic molecules of different ring size. The results obtained using the recent iterative Hirshfeld scheme are compared with those derived from the classical Hirshfeld method and from Bader's quantum theory of atoms in molecules. For bonded atoms, all methods yield ESI values in very good agreement, especially for C-C interactions. In the case of nonbonded interactions, there are relevant deviations, particularly between fuzzy and QTAIM schemes. These discrepancies directly translate into significant differences in the values and the trends of the aromaticity indices. In particular, the chemically expected trends are more consistently found when using disjoint domains. Careful examination of the underlying effects reveals the different reasons why the aromaticity indices investigated give the expected results for binary divisions of 3D space ​
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