### abstract

- The quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM) is generalized to include relativistic effects using the popular scalar-relativistic zeroth-order regular approximation (SR-ZORA). It is usually assumed that the definition of the atom as a volume bounded by a zero-flux surface of the electron density is closely linked to the form of the kinetic energy, so it is somewhat surprising that the atoms corresponding to the relativistic kinetic-energy operator in the SR-ZORA Hamiltonian are also bounded by zero-flux surfaces. The SR-ZORA Hamiltonian should be sufficient for qualitative descriptions of molecular electronic structure across the periodic table, which suggests that QTAIM-based analysis can be useful for molecules and solids containing heavy atoms.