In this paper, we present a comparative study of the redox properties of the icosahedral [Rh12E(CO)27]n− (n = 4 when E = Ge or Sn and n = 3 when E = Sb or Bi) family of clusters through in situ infrared spectroelectrochemistry experiments and density functional theory computational studies. These clusters show shared characteristics in terms of molecular structure, being all E-centered icosahedral species, and electron counting, possessing 170 valence electrons as predicted by the electron-counting rules, based on the cluster-borane analogy, for compounds with such metal geometry. However, in some cases, clusters of similar nuclearity, and beyond, may show multivalence behavior and may be stable with a different electron counting, at least on the time scale of the electrochemical analyses. The experimental results, confirmed by theoretical calculations, showed a remarkable electron-sponge behavior for [Rh12Ge(CO)27]4− (1), [Rh12Sb(CO)27]3− (3), and [Rh12Bi(CO)27]3− (4), with a cluster charge going from −2 to −6 for 1 and 3 and from −2 to −7 for cluster 4, making them examples of molecular electron reservoirs. The [Rh12Sn(CO)27]4− (2) derivative, conversely, presents a limited ability to exist in separable reduced cluster species, at least within the experimental conditions, while in the gas phase it appears to be stable both as a penta- and hexa-anion, therefore showing a similar redox activity as its congeners. As a fallout of those studies, during the preparation of [Rh12Sb(CO)27]3−, we were able to isolate a new species, namely, [Rh11Sb(CO)26]2−, which presents a Sb-centered nido-icosahedral metal structure possessing 158 cluster valence electrons, in perfect agreement with the polyhedral skeletal electron pair theory.
Heterometallic rhodium clusters as electron reservoirs: Chemical, electrochemical, and theoretical studies of the centered-icosahedral [Rh12E(CO)27]n− atomically precise carbonyl compounds
Current address: Laboratory of Luminescent Materials, Department of Biotechnology, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 15, 37134 Verona, Italy.
Note: This paper is part of the JCP Special Topic on From Atom-Precise Nanoclusters to Superatom Materials.
Cristiana Cesari, Cristina Femoni, Tiziana Funaioli, Maria Carmela Iapalucci, Ivan Rivalta, Silvia Ruggieri, Stefano Zacchini; Heterometallic rhodium clusters as electron reservoirs: Chemical, electrochemical, and theoretical studies of the centered-icosahedral [Rh12E(CO)27]n− atomically precise carbonyl compounds. J. Chem. Phys. 14 September 2021; 155 (10): 104301. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0061764
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