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Acta Cryst. (1997). A53, 526-527

Electron density and bonding in crystals

By V. G. Tsirelson and R. P. Ozerov

Pp. xiii + 517. Bristol and Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing, 1996
Price £120, US $240. ISBN 0-7503-0284-4

The subtitle of this book is Principles, theory and X-ray diffraction experiments in solid state physics and chemistry. As is reflected by this subtitle, the book spans a broad range of both theoretical and experimental subjects, and includes reports on a large number of experimental studies. Because of this broad coverage, derivations of equations are generally not given, and experimental or computational approaches are not described in detail. As a result, this is not a book that could easily be used as the basis for an advanced course on the subject, but it summarizes a wealth of pertinent information, and therefore will be of considerable value as a resource for those working in the field.

After an introduction, in which the importance of the electron density for understanding chemical bonding is emphasized, the book continues with a treatment of quantum-mechanical methods (Chapter 2), followed by a discussion of experimental X-ray techniques (Chapter 3). Complementary methods, including the use of synchrotron radiation, electron diffraction and gamma-ray diffractometry, are discussed in Chapter 4, and magnetization and spin densities in Chapter 5. Chapter 6, which carries the title `Electron density and the chemical bond', includes an enticing description of the history of bonding concepts; it starts with Lucretius Titius Carus, who described interparticle bonding by means of hooks as holders, and continues to the concepts currently used in electron-density analysis, such as atomic charges and pseudoatomic moments, deformation densities and the topology of the total electron distribution. The final chapter (Chapter 7) deals with the derivation of crystal properties from the electron density, including the electrostatic potential, the Coulombic interaction energy and the electric field gradient at the nuclear positions. The theoretical chapters frequently give an insight not found in many other books, though, as is probably unavoidable given the nature of this volume, other theoretical texts will be needed to fill in the details. It should be noted that the experimental chapters cover many interesting Russian contributions, some of which are less known to Western readers. Chapters 4 and 5 have been written by Professor Ozerov, the remainder, constituting the main body of the book, by Professor Tsirelson. Some appendices on related topics, again divided among the authors, conclude the book. Since the book contains an extensive review of the literature through 1993, and a number of references to work published in 1994 and 1995, it will find use as a source of information on past work. For this purpose, it is important that the index be detailed and easy to use. In this respect I was disappointed. Several important subjects are not referred to, or appear only once, even when they are discussed several times in the text. To give two examples, a central concept such as the multipole model, discussed several times in the text, is not listed in the index, while a student looking for a reference to crystal field theory is referred to page 244, though a much more detailed description of the concept appears on page 312. Chemical names or formulas are also omitted from the index, which one hopes will be improved in any later edition of the book, which should also be priced so as to make it more broadly accessible to beginning researchers in the field. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the authors have produced a highly interesting volume that should be useful for many years, and will find its place on the bookshelves of many scientists interested in this central subject.

Philip Coppens

Chemistry Department
State University of New York
NY 14260-3000

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