Kunnus, K.; Zhang, W.; Delcey, M.G.; Pinjari, R.V.; Miedema, P.S.; Schreck, S.; Quevedo, W.; Schröder, H.; Föhlisch, A.; Gaffney, K.J.; Lundberg, M.; Odelius, M.; Wernet, P.: Viewing the Valence Electronic Structure of Ferric and Ferrous Hexacyanide in Solution from the Fe and Cyanide Perspectives. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 120 (2016), p. 7182-7194
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The valence-excited states of ferric and ferrous hexacyanide ions in aqueous solution were mapped by resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) at the Fe L2,3 and N K edges. Probing of both the central Fe and the ligand N atoms enabled identification of the metal- and ligand-centered excited states, as well as ligand-to-metal and metal-to-ligand charge-transfer excited states. Ab initio calculations utilizing the RASPT2 method were used to simulate the Fe L2,3-edge RIXS spectra and enabled quantification of the covalencies of both occupied and empty orbitals of π and σ symmetry. We found that π back-donation in the ferric complex is smaller than that in the ferrous complex. This is evidenced by the relative amounts of Fe 3d character in the nominally 2π CN− molecular orbital of 7% and 9% in ferric and ferrous hexacyanide, respectively. Utilizing the direct sensitivity of Fe L3-edge RIXS to the Fe 3d character in the occupied molecular orbitals, we also found that the donation interactions are dominated by σ bonding. The latter was found to be stronger in the ferric complex, with an Fe 3d contribution to the nominally 5σ CN− molecular orbitals of 29% compared to 20% in the ferrous complex. These results are consistent with the notion that a higher charge at the central metal atom increases donation and decreases back-donation.