• ab initio calculations;
  • anion–π interactions;
  • conformation analysis;
  • crystal structures;
  • anions


In this manuscript we perform a systematic study on the geometric and energetic features of anion–π complexes, wherein the anion is a metal complex of variable shapes and charges. Such a study is lacking in the literature. For the calculations we used the ab initio RI-MP2/def2-TZVPP level of theory. A search in the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) provides the experimental starting point that inspired the subsequent theoretical study. The influence of [MXn]m on the anion–π interaction was analyzed in terms of energetic, geometric, and charge transfer properties and Bader′s theory of “atom-in-molecules” (AIM). The binding energy depends on the coordination index, geometric features and different orientations adopted by the metallic anion. The binding mode resembling a stacking interaction for linear, trigonal planar and square-planar anions is the most favorable. For tetrahedral and octahedral anions the most favorable orientation is the one with three halogen atoms pointing to the ring.