Herein, the first global minima containing a planar hexacoordinate carbon (phC) atom are reported. The fifteen structures belong to the CE3M3+ (E=S–Te and M=Li–Cs) series and satisfy both geometric and electronic criteria to be considered as a true phC. The design strategy consisted of replacing oxygen in the D3h CO3Li3+ structure with heavy and less electronegative chalcogens, inducing a negative charge on the C atom and an attractive electrostatic interaction between C and the alkali-metal cations. The chemical bonding analyses indicate that carbon is covalently bonded to three chalcogens and ionically connected to the three alkali metals.
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