Rh-Sb Nanoclusters: Synthesis, Structure, and Electrochemical Studies of the Atomically Precise [Rh20Sb3(CO)36]3- and [Rh21Sb2(CO)38]5- Carbonyl Compounds

Inorg Chem. 2020 Apr 6;59(7):4300-4310. doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b03135. Epub 2020 Mar 24.


The reactivity of [Rh7(CO)16]3- with SbCl3 has been deeply investigated with the aim of finding a new approach to prepare atomically precise metalloid clusters. In particular, by varying the stoichiometric ratios, the reaction atmosphere (carbon monoxide or nitrogen), the solvent, and by working at room temperature and low pressure, we were able to prepare two large carbonyl clusters of nanometer size, namely, [Rh20Sb3(CO)36]3- and [Rh21Sb2(CO)38]5-. A third large species composed of 28 metal atoms was isolated, but its exact formulation in terms of metal stoichiometry could not be incontrovertibly confirmed. We also adopted an alternative approach to synthesize nanoclusters, by decomposing the already known [Rh12Sb(CO)27]3- species with PPh3, willing to generate unsaturated fragments that could condense to larger species. This strategy resulted in the formation of the lower-nuclearity [Rh10Sb(CO)21PPh3]3- heteroleptic cluster instead. All three new compounds were characterized by IR spectroscopy, and their molecular structures were fully established by single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies. These showed a distinct propensity for such clusters to adopt an icosahedral-based geometry. Their characterization was completed by ESI-MS and NMR studies. The electronic properties of the high-yield [Rh21Sb2(CO)38]5- cluster were studied through cyclic voltammetry and in situ infrared spectroelectrochemistry, and the obtained results indicate a multivalent nature.