Structural Chemistry

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 289–301 | Cite as

The electron affinities of TCNE and TCNQ: the effect of silicon substitution

  • Steven M. Maley
  • Crystal Esau
  • Robert C. MawhinneyEmail author
Original Research


The cyanocarbons tetracyanoethylene (TCNE) and tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ) are important electron acceptors used in organic electronic applications. A common approach to enhancing their performance is by structural modification with previous studies focusing on substituting the cyano ligands or annular moiety. In this work, we assess the effect of hypovalent substitution, swapping carbon for silicon, on the potential energy surfaces and adiabatic electron affinities (AEAs). Si-substitution generally enhances AEA, and in the case of TCNQ stabilizes an open-shell singlet diradical state. Such findings may find value in the design of new materials based on the cyanocarbon platform.


Adiabatic electron affinity Silicon Isovalent substitution TCNE TCNQ DFT Symmetry breaking 



The authors would like to thank SHARCNET and Compute Canada for computational resources, as well as Dr. Qadir Timerghazin for performing the Molpro calculations. SMM acknowledges a grant through the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Post-Secondary Student Support Program. Finally, the authors would like to thank Lakehead University and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for support.

Supplementary material

11224_2018_1186_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 5819 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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