This in-class activity and the related problem set allows students to discover the linear and bent bonding modes of NO to metals based on VSEPR theory through guided inquiry. Two examples follow which illustrate how the electrons are counted in NO complexes depending on the coordination mode/formal charge of NO. Students must have had prior practice in counting electrons of complexes to complete the problems.
Six problems, half of them from the more recent chemical literature, are given. These include simple electron counting, determination of the oxidation state of the metal in a nitrosyl complex, prediction of the bonding mode of NO, and determination of the identity of an unknown metal in a nitrosyl complex given the NO bonding mode. The last two questions involve examples that deviate from the expected. The unusual Cp*3U(NO) complex is introduced to the students by asking them to discuss if the observations and coordination mode observed in the x-ray structure is expected or unexpected. The last electron count problem poses some additional challenges.
Students should be able to critique a given nitrosyl complex and deduce:
- The formal electron count of nitrosyl complexes.
- Whether a nitrosyl ligand is formally NO+ or NO- in a given coordination complex and if a linear or bent M-N-O geometry is expected.
I plan to use this in the spring semester as an in-class activity with students working in groups of 2 or 3, but haven’t tried it yet. If you do decide to try it, let me know how it goes!