Synthesis and structural properties of lanthanide complexes formed with tropolonate ligands

Jian Zhang, Paul D. Badger, Steven J. Geib, Stéphane Petoud

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29 Scopus citations


We have previously reported the unique luminescence properties of ML 4 complexes formed between tropolonate ligands and a series of lanthanide cations, several of them emitting in the near-infrared domain. The synthesis and composition of ML4 lanthanide tropolonate complexes have been previously described in the literature, but no structural information has been available so far. In this work, the crystal structures of several lanthanide tropolonate complexes (Ln3+ = Tb3+, Dy 3+, Ho3+, Er3+, Tm3+, Yb 3+, Lu3+) have been isolated and systematically analyzed by X-ray diffraction and compared by using different criteria including the Kepert formalism. Such comparative work is rare in lanthanide coordination chemistry. The analysis of the structures in the solid state reveals that although the packing of the ML4 complexes depends on the nature of the metal ion, the coordination geometries around the different lanthanides is virtually similar for all the cations that have been analyzed; an indication that lanthanide-centered f orbitals play a role in controlling this coordination geometry. Analysis of the solution's behavior by stability constant determination reveals the formation of complexes with similar ML4 stoichiometries as those observed in the solid state. Nevertheless, analysis of the luminescence lifetimes indicates that the coordination environment around the lanthanide cations are different in the solid state and in solution, with the presence of one molecule of water bound to the lanthanide cation in solution. The presence of such a water molecule is a significant source of nonradiative deactivation of the excited states of the lanthanide cations, an unfavorable condition that leads to significant loss in fluorescence intensity of these lanthanide complexes. This exemplifies that such comparative analysis between the solid state and solution is important for the rationalization of the luminescence properties of the complexes. This analysis will aid us in optimizing ligand design for improved photophysical properties of the complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6473-6482
Number of pages10
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 6 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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