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Structure, Bonding, and Stability of Mercury Complexes with Thiolate and Thioether Ligands from High-Resolution XANES Spectroscopy and First-Principles Calculations

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posted on 21.12.2015, 00:00 by Alain Manceau, Cyprien Lemouchi, Mauro Rovezzi, Martine Lanson, Pieter Glatzel, Kathryn L. Nagy, Isabelle Gautier-Luneau, Yves Joly, Mironel Enescu
We present results obtained from high energy-resolution L3-edge XANES spectroscopy and first-principles calculations for the structure, bonding, and stability of mercury­(II) complexes with thiolate and thioether ligands in crystalline compounds, aqueous solution, and macromolecular natural organic matter (NOM). Core-to-valence XANES features that vary in intensity differentiate with unprecedented sensitivity the number and identity of Hg ligands and the geometry of the ligand environment. Post-Hartree–Fock XANES calculations, coupled with natural population analysis, performed on MP2-optimized Hg­[(SR)2···(RSR)n] complexes show that the shape, position, and number of electronic transitions observed at high energy-resolution are directly correlated to the Hg and S (l,m)-projected empty densities of states and occupations of the hybridized Hg 6s and 5d valence orbitals. Linear two-coordination, the most common coordination geometry in mercury chemistry, yields a sharp 2p to 6s + 5d electronic transition. This transition varies in intensity for Hg bonded to thiol groups in macromolecular NOM. The intensity variation is explained by contributions from next-nearest, low-charge, thioether-type RSR ligands at 3.0–3.3 Å from Hg. Thus, Hg in NOM has two strong bonds to thiol S and k additional weak Hg···S contacts, or 2 + k coordination. The calculated stabilization energy is −5 kcal/mol per RSR ligand. Detection of distant ligands beyond the first coordination shell requires precise measurement of, and comparison to, spectra of reference compounds as well as accurate calculation of spectra for representative molecular models. The combined experimental and theoretical approaches described here for Hg can be applied to other closed-shell atoms, such as AgI and AuI. To facilitate further calculation of XANES spectra, experimental data, a new crystallographic structure of a key mercury thioether complex, Cartesian coordinates of the computed models, and examples of input files are provided as Supporting Information.