Synthesis and Characterization of a New Family of Bi-, Tri-, Tetra-, and Pentanuclear Ferric Complexes

Nine members of a new family of polynuclear ferric complexes have been synthesized and characterized. The reaction of Fe(O<sub>2</sub>CMe)<sub>2</sub> with polydentate Schiff base proligands (H<sub>2</sub>L) derived from salicylidene-2-ethanolamine, followed in some cases by reaction with carboxylic acids, has afforded new complexes of general formulas [Fe<sub>2</sub>(pic)<sub>2</sub>(L)<sub>2</sub>] (where pic<sup>-</sup> is the anion of 2-picolinic acid), [Fe<sub>3</sub>(O<sub>2</sub>CMe)<sub>3</sub>(L)<sub>3</sub>], [Fe<sub>4</sub>(OR)<sub>2</sub>(O<sub>2</sub>CMe)<sub>2</sub>(L)<sub>4</sub>], and [Fe<sub>5</sub>O(OH)(O<sub>2</sub>CR)<sub>4</sub>(L)<sub>4</sub>]. The tri-, tetra-, and pentanuclear complexes all possess unusual structures and novel core topologies. Mössbauer spectroscopy confirms the presence of high-spin ferric centers in the tri- and pentanuclear complexes. Variable-temperature magnetic measurements suggest spin ground states of <i>S</i> = 0, 1/2, 0, and 5/2 for the bi-, tri-, tetra-, and pentanuclear complexes, respectively. Fits of the magnetic susceptibility data have provided the magnitude of the exclusively antiferromagnetic exchange interactions. In addition, an easy-axis-type magnetic anisotropy has been observed for the pentanuclear complexes, with <i>D</i> values of approximately −0.4 cm<sup>-1</sup> determined from modeling the low-temperature magnetization data. A low-temperature micro-SQUID study of one of the pentanuclear complexes reveals magnetization hysteresis at nonzero field. This is attributed to an anisotropy-induced energy barrier to magnetization reversal that is of molecular origin. Finally, an inelastic neutron scattering study of one of the trinuclear complexes has revealed that the magnetic behavior arises from two distinct species.