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  1. Photomechanical molecular crystals have garnered attention for their ability to transform light into mechanical work, but difficulties in characterizing the structural changes and mechanical responses experimentally have hindered the development of practical organic crystal engines. This study proposes a new computational framework for predicting the solid-state crystal-to-crystal photochemical transformations entirely from first principles, and it establishes a photomechanical engine cycle that quantifies the anisotropic mechanical performance resulting from the transformation. The approach relies on crystal structure prediction, solid-state topochemical principles, and high-quality electronic structure methods. After validating the framework on the well-studied [4 + 4] cycloadditions in 9-methyl anthracene and 9- tert -butyl anthracene ester, the experimentally-unknown solid-state transformation of 9-carboxylic acid anthracene is predicted for the first time. The results illustrate how the mechanical work is done by relaxation of the crystal lattice to accommodate the photoproduct, rather than by the photochemistry itself. The large ∼10 7 J m −3 work densities computed for all three systems highlight the promise of photomechanical crystal engines. This study demonstrates the importance of crystal packing in determining molecular crystal engine performance and provides tools and insights to design improved materials in silico . 
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  2. Second-order Møller–Plesset perturbation theory (MP2) provides a valuable alternative to density functional theory for modeling problems in organic and biological chemistry. However, MP2 suffers from known limitations in the description of van der Waals (London) dispersion interactions and reaction thermochemistry. Here, a spin-component-scaled, dispersion-corrected MP2 model (SCS-MP2D) is proposed that addresses these weaknesses. The dispersion correction, which is based on Grimme's D3 formalism, replaces the uncoupled Hartree–Fock dispersion inherent in MP2 with a more robust coupled Kohn–Sham treatment. The spin-component scaling of the residual MP2 correlation energy then reduces the remaining errors in the model. This two-part correction strategy solves the problem found in earlier spin-component-scaled MP2 models where completely different spin-scaling parameters were needed for describing reaction energies versus intermolecular interactions. Results on 18 benchmark data sets and two challenging potential energy curves demonstrate that SCS-MP2D considerably improves upon the accuracy of MP2 for intermolecular interactions, conformational energies, and reaction energies. Its accuracy and computational cost are competitive with state-of-the-art density functionals such as DSD-BLYP-D3(BJ), revDSD-PBEP86-D3(BJ), ωB97X-V, and ωB97M-V for systems with ∼100 atoms. 
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  3. With 12 crystal forms, 5-methyl-2-[(2-nitrophenyl)amino]-3-thiophenecabonitrile (a.k.a. ROY) holds the current record for the largest number of fully characterized organic crystal polymorphs. Four of these polymorph structures have been reported since 2019, raising the question of how many more ROY polymorphs await future discovery. Employing crystal structure prediction and accurate energy rankings derived from conformational energy-corrected density functional theory, this study presents the first crystal energy landscape for ROY that agrees well with experiment. The lattice energies suggest that the seven most stable ROY polymorphs (and nine of the twelve lowest-energy forms) on the Z′ = 1 landscape have already been discovered experimentally. Discovering any new polymorphs at ambient pressure will likely require specialized crystallization techniques capable of trapping metastable forms. At pressures above 10 GPa, however, a new crystal form is predicted to become enthalpically more stable than all known polymorphs, suggesting that further high-pressure experiments on ROY may be warranted. This work highlights the value of high-accuracy crystal structure prediction for solid-form screening and demonstrates how pragmatic conformational energy corrections can overcome the limitations of conventional density functionals for conformational polymorphs. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    The exceptionally high carrier mobility of rubrene derives from the combination of its intrinsic electronic properties and favorable crystal packing that facilitates charge transport. Unlike the planar conformations adopted by rubrene single crystals, however, many rubrene derivatives crystallize with a twisted tetracene core and exhibit poor carrier mobility. Typical density functional theory (DFT) calculations suggest that the twisted conformation is preferred by ∼10–14 kJ mol −1 or more in the gas phase. However, the present work shows that those calculations overestimate the twisting energy by several kJ mol −1 due to density-driven delocalization error, and that the twisting energies are actually only ∼8–10 kJ mol −1 for typical rubrene derivatives when computed with higher-level correlated wave function models. This result has two significant implications for crystal engineering with rubrene derivatives: first, DFT calculations can erroneously predict polymorphs containing twisted rubrene conformations to be more stable, when in fact structures with planar conformations are preferred, as is demonstrated here for perfluororubrene. Second, the smaller twisting energies make it more likely that solid form screening could discover new planar-core polymorphs of rubrene derivatives that have previously been crystallized only in a twisted conformation. These in turn might exhibit better organic semiconducting properties. 
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  5. null (Ed.)