Sigma bond activation by transition metal ions: The Co(CH4)n/+ systems revisited

Q. Zhang, P. R. Kemper, Koo Shin Seung Koo Shin, M. T. Bowers

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27 Scopus citations


Measurements are reported for sequential clustering of CH4 to Co+ ions under equilibrium conditions. The CH4 cluster bond strengths show a pairwise behavior: -ΔH0/0 = 23.1 and 25.3 kcal/mol for n = 1 and 2; 7.3 and 5.2 kcal/mol for n = 3 and 4; and ∼2 kcal/mol for both n = 5 and 6. This pairwise behavior is well reproduced by large basis set density functional theory calculations. These calculations indicate n = 1 and n = 2 add on opposite sides of the Co+ ion in η2 configuration and induce significant s/d hybridization on Co+. This hybridization both reduces Pauli repulsion and fosters sigma donation into the 4s orbital on Co+. Clusters n = 3 and n = 4 add at 90° to the n = 1 and 2 line of centers forming a planar system. The s/d hybridization is unfavorable for these clusters resulting in longer Co+-C bond lengths and substantially reduced binding energies. To n = 5 and 6 ligands probably complete a pseudo octahedral complex and are very weakly bound, perhaps defining a second solvation shell. An impurity contributed substantially to the experimental peak at m/z = 123 corresponding to Co+(CH4)4. The impurity was tentatively identified as O2Co+(CH4)2 and experimental protocals were developed to eliminate its impact on the data reported here. It is suggested this impurity could be responsible for published guided ion beam results that found a substantially larger binding energy for n = 4 than for n = 3 in contrast to what is reported here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-294
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Feb 6 2001


  • Cobalt
  • Density function theory
  • Methane
  • Sigma bond activation
  • Transition metal


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