Crystallography Journals Online : IUCR Backfile Archive 1948-2001
Chemistry and Pharmacology
A neutron diffraction study of the non-linear optical (NLO) material 4-nitro-4′-methylbenzylidene aniline (NMBA) is presented. NMBA exhibits a large macroscopic second-order NLO susceptibility, χ(2), and this study shows that hydrogen bonding is, in part, responsible for this. No hydrogen bonding was reported in the X-ray study [Ponomarev et al. (1977). Sov. Phys. Crystallogr. 22, 223–225], whereas the present work shows that C—H...X hydrogen bonds (where X = N, O or π) direct the nature of the three-dimensional lattice. C—H...X (X = N or O) hydrogen bonds are common; however, C—H...π hydrogen-bond motifs are relatively rare. Such intermolecular interactions help extend the molecular charge transfer into the supramolecular realm, the charge transfer originating as a consequence of the high level of molecular planarity and strong donor-to-acceptor interactions. Molecular planarity, coupled with the favourable nature of the hydrogen bonds, results in parallel stacking of molecules in both the a and c crystallographic directions with extremely close interplanar spacings. Such a combination of influential hydrogen-bonding characteristics accounts, in part, for the large second-order NLO output of the material since the phenomenon is so critically dependent upon the nature of the charge transfer.
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