• bond theory;
  • He@adamantane;
  • electron density distribution;
  • IQA analysis;
  • QTAIM analysis;
  • metastability


Calculations within the framework of the interacting quantum atoms (IQA) approach have shown that the interactions of the helium atom with both tertiary, tC, and secondary, sC, carbon atoms in the metastable He@adamantane (He@adam) endohedral complex are bonding in nature, whereas the earlier study performed within the framework of Bader’s quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM) revealed that only He⋅⋅⋅tC interactions are bonding. The He⋅⋅⋅tC and He⋅⋅⋅sC bonding interactions are shown to be forced by the high pressure that the helium and carbon atoms exert upon each other in He@adam. The occurrence of a bonding interaction between the helium and sC atoms, which are not linked by a bond path, clearly shows that the lack of a bond path between two atoms does not necessarily indicate the lack of a bonding interaction, as is asserted by QTAIM. IQA calculations showed that not only the destabilization of the adamantane cage, but also a huge internal destabilization of the helium atom, contribute to the metastability of He@adam, these contributions being roughly equal. This result disproves previous opinions based on QTAIM analysis that only the destabilization of the adamantane cage accounts for the endothermicity of He@adam. Also, it was found that there is no homeomorphism of the ρ(r) and -v(r) fields of He@adam. Comparison of the IQA and QTAIM results on the interactions in He@adam exposes other deficiencies of the QTAIM approach. The reasons for the deficiencies in the QTAIM approach are analyzed.