From atoms to bonds, angles and torsions: molecular metrics from crystal space, and two Excel implementations
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Values of molecular bond lengths, bond angles and (less frequently) bond torsion angles are readily available from databases, from crystallographic software, and/or from interactive molecular and crystal visualization programs such as Jmol. However, the methods used to calculate these values are less well known. In this paper, the computational methods are described in detail, and live Excel implementations, which permit readers to readily perform the calculations for their own molecular systems, are provided. The methods described apply to both fractional coordinates in crystal space and Cartesian coordinates in Euclidean space (space in which the geometric postulates of Euclid are valid) and are vector/matrix based. In their simplest computational form, they are applied as algebraic expansions which are summed. They are also available in matrix formulations, which are readily manipulated and calculated using the matrix functions of Excel. In particular, their general formulation as metric matrices is introduced. The methods in use are illustrated by a detailed example of the calculations. This contribution provides a significant practical application which can also act as motivation for the study of matrix mathematics with respect to its many uses in chemistry.
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