Bismuth-doped tin clusters: experimental and theoretical studies of neutral Zintl analogues

Sven Heiles, Roy L Johnston, Rolf Schäfer

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The electron count of gas-phase clusters is increased gradually by element substitution in order to mimic the total number of electrons of known stable closo-clusters. A combination of elements from the fourth and fifth group of the periodic table such as Sn and Bi is well-suited for this approach. Hence, these small Sn-Bi clusters are investigated by employing the electric field deflection method. For clusters in the series Sn(M-N)Bi(N) (M = 5-13, N = 1-2), the beam profiles obtained in cryogenic experiments are dominated by beam broadening, indicating the presence of a permanent electric dipole moment that is sensitive to the (rigid) cluster structure. An intensive search for the global minimum structure employing a density functional theory/genetic algorithm method is performed. Dielectric properties for the identified low-energy isomers are computed. The structural and dielectric properties are used in beam profile simulations in order to discuss the experimental data. Comparison of theoretical and experimental results enables identification of the growing pattern of these small bimetallic clusters. For multiply doped clusters, it is concluded that the dopant atoms do not form direct Bi-Bi bonds, but more interestingly, a rearrangement of the cluster skeleton becomes apparent. The structural motifs are different from pure tin clusters but rather are rationalized using the corresponding structures of tin anions or are based on the Wade-Mingos concept. Further evidence for this idea is deduced from nuclear independent chemical shift calculations, which show nearly identical behavior for negatively charged pure and neutral bimetallic clusters. All of these findings are consistent with the idea of neutral Zintl analogues in the gas phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7756-64
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2012


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