Quadruple metal-metal bonds with strong donor ligands. Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy of M2(form)4 (M = Cr, Mo, W; form = N,N'- diphenylformamidinate)

Dennis L. Lichtenberger, Matthew A. Lynn, Malcolm H. Chisholm

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27 Scopus citations


The He I photoelectron spectra of M2(form)4 (M = Cr, Mo, W; form = N,N'-diphenylformamidinate) and Mo2(cyform)4 (cyform = N,N'- dicyclohexylformamidinate) are presented. For comparison, the Ne I, He I, and He II photoelectron spectra of Mo2(p-CH3-form)4 have also been obtained. The valence ionization features of these molecules are interpreted based on (1) the changes that occur with the metal and ligand substitutions, (2) the changes in photoelectron cross sections with excitation source, and (3) the changes from previously studied dimetal complexes. These photoelectron spectra are useful for revealing the effects that better electron donor ligands have on the valence electronic structure of M2(L-L)4 systems. Comparison with the He I spectra of the isoelectronic M2(O2CCH3)4 compounds is particularly revealing. Unlike with the more electron- withdrawing acetate ligand, several formamidinate-based ionizations derived from the nitrogen pπ orbitals occur among the metal-metal σ, π, and δ ionization bands. Although these formamidinate-based levels are close in energy to the occupied metal-metal bonds, they have little direct mixing interaction with them. The shift of the metal-metal bond ionizations to lower ionization energies for the formamidinate systems is primarily a consequence of the lower electonegativity of the ligand and the better π donation into empty metal levels. The metal-metal δ orbital experiences some additional net bonding interaction with ligand orbitals of the same symmetry. Also, an additional bonding interaction from ligand-to-metal electron donation to the σd* orbital is identified. These spectra suggest a greater degree of metal- ligand covalency than in the related M2(O2CCH3)4 systems. Fenske-Hall molecular orbital and density functional (ADF) calculations agree with the assignment and interpretation of these spectra. Calculated ionization energies are reported for M2(form)4 based on several different density functionals and with different orientations and substitutions for the phenyl rings. It is found that good estimates of the ionization energies are obtained when the truncated system M2(HN(CH)NH)4, in which the phenyl groups are replaced by hydrogen atoms, is employed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12167-12176
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 29 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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