Journal of the American Chemical Society vol:124 issue:9 pages:2008-2014
Symmetry arguments show that the ring-current model proposed by Pauling, Lonsdale, and London to explain the enhanced diamagnetism of benzene is flawed by an intrinsic drawback. The minimal basis set of six atomic 2p orbitals taken into account to develop such a model is inherently insufficient to predict a paramagnetic contribution to the perpendicular component of magnetic susceptibility in planar ring systems such as benzene. Analogous considerations can be made for the hypothetical H-6 cyclic molecule. A model allowing for extended basis sets is necessary to rationalize the magnetism of aromatics. According to high-quality coupled Hartree-Fock calculations, the trajectories of the current density vector field induced by a magnetic field perpendicular to the skeletal plane of benzene in the pi electrons are noticeably different from those typical of a Larmor diamagnetic circulation, in that (i) significant deformation of the orbits from circular to hexagonal symmetry occurs, which is responsible for a paramagnetic contribution of pi electrons to the out-of-plane component of susceptibility, and (ii) a sizable component of the pi current density vector parallel to the inducing field is predicted. This causes a waving motion of pi electrons; streamlines are characterized by a "leap-frog effect".