Geometry and Electronic Structure of Yb(III)[CH(SiMe3)2]3 from EPR and solid-state NMR augmented by Computations

17 November 2023, Version 2


Characterization of paramagnetic compounds, in particular regarding the detailed conformation and electronic structure, remains a challenge, and - still today it often relies solely on the use of X-ray crystallography, thus limiting the access to electronic structure information. This is particularly true for lanthanide elements that are often associated with peculiar structural and electronic features in relation to their partially filled f-shell. Here, we develop a methodology based on the combined use of state-of-the-art magnetic resonance spectroscopies (EPR and solid-state NMR) and computational approaches as well as magnetic susceptibility measurements to determine the electronic structure and geometry of a paramagnetic Yb(III) alkyl complex, Yb(III)[CH(SiMe3)2]3, a prototypical example, which contains notable structural features according to X-ray crystallography. Each of these techniques revealed specific information about the geometry and electronic structure of the complex. Taken together, both EPR and NMR, augmented by quantum chemical calculations, provide a detailed and complementary understanding of such paramagnetic compounds. In particular, the EPR and NMR signatures point to the presence of three-centre-two-electron Yb-γ-Me-β–Si secondary metal-ligand interactions in this otherwise tri-coordinate metal complex, similarly to its diamagnetic Lu analogues. The electronic structure of Yb(III) can be described as a single 4f13 configuration, while an unusually large crystal-field splitting results in a thermally isolated ground Kramers doublet. Furthermore, the computational data indicate that the Yb-carbon bond contains some π-character, reminiscent of the so-called α-H agostic interaction.


organometallic chemistry
lanthanide alkyl
electronic structure
EPR spectroscopy
paramagnetic NMR spectroscopy

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Details on Materials and Methods, Crystallography, NMR, EPR, Magnetic susceptibility, Computational Modeling, and Magnetic susceptibility studies


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