Van der Waals Interactions in Aromatic Systems: Structure and Energetics of Dimers and Trimers of Pyridine



Full geometry optimizations at the dispersion-corrected DFT-BLYP level of theory were carried out for dimers and trimers of pyridine. The DFT-D interaction energies were checked against results from single-point SCS-MP2/aug-cc-pVTZ calculations. Three stacked structures and a planar H-bonded dimer were found to be very close in energy (interaction energies in the range from −3.4 to −4.0 kcal mol−1). Two T-shaped geometries are higher lying, by about 1 kcal mol−1, which is explained by the more favorable electrostatic interactions in the stacked and H-bonded arrangements. The DFT-D approach has proved to be a reliable and efficient tool to explore the conformational space of aromatic van der Waals complexes and furthermore provides interaction energies with errors of less than 10–20 % of ΔE. Comparisons with previous results obtained by using only partially optimized model geometries strongly indicate that unconstrained optimizations are mandatory in such weakly bonded low-symmetry systems.