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, 47 (2), 624-32

Recent Advances in Technetium Halide Chemistry


Recent Advances in Technetium Halide Chemistry

Frederic Poineau et al. Acc Chem Res.


Transition metal binary halides are fundamental compounds, and the study of their structure, bonding, and other properties gives chemists a better understanding of physicochemical trends across the periodic table. One transition metal whose halide chemistry is underdeveloped is technetium, the lightest radioelement. For half a century, the halide chemistry of technetium has been defined by three compounds: TcF6, TcF5, and TcCl4. The absence of Tc binary bromides and iodides in the literature was surprising considering the existence of such compounds for all of the elements surrounding technetium. The common synthetic routes that scientists use to obtain binary halides of the neighboring elements, such as sealed tube reactions between elements and flowing gas reactions between a molecular complex and HX gas (X = Cl, Br, or I), had not been reported for technetium. In this Account, we discuss how we used these routes to revisit the halide chemistry of technetium. We report seven new phases: TcBr4, TcBr3, α/β-TcCl3, α/β-TcCl2, and TcI3. Technetium tetrachloride and tetrabromide are isostructural to PtX4 (X = Cl or Br) and consist of infinite chains of edge-sharing TcX6 octahedra. Trivalent technetium halides are isostructural to ruthenium and molybdenum (β-TcCl3, TcBr3, and TcI3) and to rhenium (α-TcCl3). Technetium tribromide and triiodide exhibit the TiI3 structure-type and consist of infinite chains of face-sharing TcX6 (X = Br or I) octahedra. Concerning the trichlorides, β-TcCl3 crystallizes with the AlCl3 structure-type and consists of infinite layers of edge-sharing TcCl6 octahedra, while α-TcCl3 consists of infinite layers of Tc3Cl9 units. Both phases of technetium dichloride exhibit new structure-types that consist of infinite chains of [Tc2Cl8] units. For the technetium binary halides, we studied the metal-metal interaction by theoretical methods and magnetic measurements. The change of the electronic configuration of the metal atom from d(3) (Tc(IV)) to d(5) (Tc(II)) is accompanied by the formation of metal-metal bonds in the coordination polyhedra. There is no metal-metal interaction in TcX4, a Tc═Tc double bond is present in α/β-TcCl3, and a Tc≡Tc triple bond is present in α/β-TcCl2. We investigated the thermal behavior of these binary halides in sealed tubes under vacuum at elevated temperature. Technetium tetrachloride decomposes stepwise to α-TcCl3 and β-TcCl2 at 450 °C, while β-TcCl3 converts to α-TcCl3 at 280 °C. The technetium dichlorides disproportionate to Tc metal and TcCl4 above ∼600 °C. At 450 °C in a sealed Pyrex tube, TcBr3 decomposes to Na{[Tc6Br12]2Br}, while TcI3 decomposes to Tc metal. We have used technetium tribromide in the preparation of new divalent complexes; we expect that the other halides will also serve as starting materials for the synthesis of new compounds (e.g., complexes with a Tc3(9+) core, divalent iodide complexes, binary carbides, nitrides, and phosphides, etc.). Technetium halides may also find applications in the nuclear fuel cycle; their thermal properties could be utilized in separation processes using halide volatility. In summary, we hope that these new insights on technetium binary halides will contribute to a better understanding of the chemistry of this fascinating element.

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