[Sb4Au4Sb4](2-): A designer all-metal aromatic sandwich.

Research paper by Wen-Juan WJ Tian, Jin-Chang JC Guo, Da-Zhi DZ Li, Xue-Rui XR You, Ying-Jin YJ Wang, Zhong-Ming ZM Sun, Hua-Jin HJ Zhai

Indexed on: 01 Aug '16Published on: 01 Aug '16Published in: The Journal of chemical physics


We report on the computational design of an all-metal aromatic sandwich, [Sb4Au4Sb4](2-). The triple-layered, square-prismatic sandwich complex is the global minimum of the system from Coalescence Kick and Minima Hopping structural searches. Following a standard, qualitative chemical bonding analysis via canonical molecular orbitals, the sandwich complex can be formally described as [Sb4](+)[Au4](4-)[Sb4](+), showing ionic bonding characters with electron transfers in between the Sb4/Au4/Sb4 layers. For an in-depth understanding of the system, one needs to go beyond the above picture. Significant Sb → Au donation and Sb ← Au back-donation occur, redistributing electrons from the Sb4/Au4/Sb4 layers to the interlayer Sb-Au-Sb edges, which effectively lead to four Sb-Au-Sb three-center two-electron bonds. The complex is a system with 30 valence electrons, excluding the Sb 5s and Au 5d lone-pairs. The two [Sb4](+) ligands constitute an unusual three-fold (π and σ) aromatic system with all 22 electrons being delocalized. An energy gap of ∼1.6 eV is predicted for this all-metal sandwich. The complex is a rare example for rational design of cluster compounds and invites forth-coming synthetic efforts.