In silico search for planar hexacoordinate silicon center has been initiated by global minimum screening with density functional theory and energy refinement using coupled cluster theory. The search resulted in a local minimum of SiAl3Mg3H2+ structure which contains a planar hexacoordinate silicon center (phSi). The phSi structure is 5.8 kcal/mol higher in energy than the global minimum. However, kinetic studies reveal that the local minimum structure has enough stability to be detected experimentally. Born-Oppenheimer molecular dynamics (BOMD) simulations reveal that the phSi structure can be maintained up to 400 K. The formation of multiple bonds between the central silicon atom and framework aluminium atom is the key stabilizing factor for the planar structure.
Catalytic CO2 reduction mediated by Ru-PNP pincer complexes has been studied using density functional theory (DFT). Calculations clearly reveal that modification of the PNP pincer framework by introducing planar conjugation in the backbone improves the catalytic efficiency. Activation strain model reveals that reduction of strain in the transition states with modified PNP framework associated with the insertion of CO2 molecule is responsible for lowering the activation barrier. Calculations also reveal that electron withdrawing substituents at the PNP ligand improves the catalytic performance.