On the Paucity of Molecular Actinide Complexes with Unsupported Metal−Metal Bonds:  A Comparative Investigation of the Electronic Structure and Metal−Metal Bonding in U<sub>2</sub>X<sub>6</sub> (X = Cl, F, OH, NH<sub>2</sub>, CH<sub>3</sub>) Complexes and d-Block Analogues

2006-08-21T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Germán Cavigliasso Nikolas Kaltsoyannis
Density functional calculations have been performed on M<sub>2</sub>X<sub>6</sub> complexes (where M = U, W, and Mo and X = Cl, F, OH, NH<sub>2</sub>, and CH<sub>3</sub>) to investigate general aspects of their electronic structures and explore the similarities and differences in metal−metal bonding between f-block and d-block elements. A detailed analysis of the metal−metal interactions has been conducted using molecular orbital theory and energy decomposition methods. Multiple (σ and π) bonding is predicted for all species investigated, with predominant f−f and d−d metal orbital character, respectively, for U and W or Mo complexes. The energy decomposition analysis involves contributions from orbital interactions (mixing of occupied and unoccupied orbitals), electrostatic effects (Coulombic attraction and repulsion), and Pauli repulsion (associated with four-electron two-orbital interactions). The general results suggest that the overall metal−metal interaction is stronger in the Mo and W species, relative to the U analogues, as a consequence of a significantly less destabilizing contribution from the combined Pauli and electrostatic (“pre-relaxation”) effects. Although the orbital-mixing (“post-relaxation”) contribution to the total bonding energy is predicted to have a larger magnitude in the U complexes, this is not sufficiently strong to compensate for the comparatively greater destabilization that originates from the Pauli-plus-electrostatic effects. Of the pre-relaxation terms, the Pauli repulsion is comparable in analogous U and d-block compounds, contrary to the electrostatic term, which is (much) less favorable in the U systems than in the W and Mo systems. This generally weak electrostatic stabilization accounts for the large pre-relaxation destabilization in the U complexes and, ultimately, for the relative weakness of the U−U bonds. The origin of the small electrostatic term in the U compounds is traced primarily to MX<sub>3</sub> fragment overlap effects.