ABSTRACT: Synergistic studies of bismuth doped tin clusters combining photoelectron spectra with first principles theoretical investigations establish that highly charged Zintl ions, observed in the condensed phase, can be stabilized as isolated gas phase clusters through atomic substitution that preserves the overall electron count but reduces the net charge and thereby avoids instability because of coulomb repulsion. Mass spectrometry studies reveal that Sn(8)Bi(-), Sn(7)Bi(2)(-), and Sn(6)Bi(3)(-) exhibit higher abundances than neighboring species, and photoelectron spectroscopy show that all of these heteroatomic gas phase Zintl analogues (GPZAs) have high adiabatic electron detachment energies. Sn(6)Bi(3)(-) is found to be a particularly stable cluster, having a large highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO)-lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) gap. Theoretical calculations demonstrate that the Sn(6)Bi(3)(-) cluster is isoelectronic with the well know Sn(9)(-4) Zintl ion; however, the fluxionality reported for Sn(9)(-4) is suppressed by substituting Sn atoms with Bi atoms. Thus, while the electronic stability of the clusters is dominated by electron count, the size and position of the atoms affects the dynamics of the cluster as well. Substitution with Bi enlarges the cage compared with Sn(9)(-4) making it favorable for endohedral doping, findings which suggest that these cages may find use for building blocks of cluster assembled materials.
Inorganic Chemistry 11/2008; 47(23):10953-8. · 4.60 Impact Factor