By Artëm E. Masunov, Arman Tannu, Alexander A. Dyakov, Anastasia D. Matveeva, Alexandra Ya. Freidzon, Alexey V. Odinokov, Alexander A. Bagaturyants
The crystalline materials with nonlinear optical (NLO) properties are critically important for several technological applications, including nanophotonic and second harmonic generation devices. Urea is often considered to be a standard NLO material, due to the combination of non-centrosymmetric crystal packing and capacity for intramolecular charge transfer. Various approaches to crystal engineering of non-centrosymmetric molecular materialswere reported in the literature. Here we propose using global lattice energy minimization to predict the crystal packing from the first principles. We developed a methodology that includes the following: (1) parameter derivation for polarizable force field AMOEBA; (2) local minimizations of crystal structures with these parameters, combined with the evolutionary algorithm for a global minimum search, implemented in program USPEX; (3) filtering out duplicate polymorphs produced; (4) reoptimization and final ranking based on density functional theory (DFT) with many-body dispersion (MBD) correction; and (5) prediction of the second-order susceptibility tensor by finite field approach. This methodology was applied to predict virtual urea polymorphs. After filtering based on packing similarity, only two distinct packing modes were predicted: one experimental and one hypothetical. DFT + MBD ranking established non-centrosymmetric crystal packing as the global minimum, in agreement with the experiment. Finite field approach was used to predict nonlinearsusceptibility, and H-bonding was found to account for a 2.5-fold increase in molecular hyperpolarizability to the bulk value.