Combining molecular beam electric deflection experiments and global optimization techniques has proven to be a powerful tool for resolving equilibrium structures of neutral metal and semiconductor clusters. Herein, we present electric molecular beam deflection experiments on PbN (N = 7–18) clusters. Promising structures are generated using the unbiased Birmingham Cluster Genetic Algorithm approach based on density functional theory. The structures are further relaxed within the framework of two-component density functional theory taking scalar relativistic and spin orbit effects into account. Quantum chemical results are used to model electric molecular beam deflection profiles based on molecular dynamics calculations. Comparison of measured and simulated beam profiles allows the assignment of equilibrium structures for the most cluster sizes in the examined range for the first time. Neutral lead clusters adopt mainly spherical geometries and resemble the structures of lead cluster cations apart from Pb10. Their growth pattern deviates strongly from the one observed for tin and germanium clusters.

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