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Issue 47, 2008
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Dynamics and magnetic resonance properties of Sc3C2@C80 and its monoanion

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We report density functional theory (DFT) studies on the endohedral scandium carbide fullerene Sc3C2@C80 and its monoanion [Sc3C2@C80]. The system consisting of a Sc3C2 moiety inside the Ih C80 fullerene has been studied by using first principles molecular dynamics simulations at the DFT level. On the picosecond time scale, the triangle defined by the scandium atoms is seen to jump between orientations along the equatorial six-membered ring belt of the cage. The confined carbide unit, in turn, is engaged in a flipping motion through the Sc3 plane. In contrast to the equilibrium geometry optimisations using large basis sets that predict a trigonal bipyramidal structure, a planar Sc3C2-moiety is preferred during the finite-temperature simulation. In the molecular dynamics picture, Sc3C2@C80 is best described as an equilibrium between the two static minimum structures. Calculations of the vibrational frequencies show that the earlier predicted C2 and C2v symmetric isomers are in fact saddle points, with one imaginary normal mode frequency that is related to the flipping motion of the confined carbon dimer. Reoptimisation revealed two new minimum energy structures where the C2 unit is tilted with respect to its orientation in the earlier suggested higher-symmetry structures. The nature of the bonding in the static structures of the two isomers of Sc3C2@C80 has been investigated using the electron localisation function and natural population analysis. Some increased electron pair localisation is detected on the six-membered rings closest to the Sc atoms. 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) chemical shifts have been calculated for the closed-shell monoanion of Sc3C2@C80. The 13C shifts were also calculated for Sc2C2@C84, for further comparison to experimentally measured spectra. The confined carbon atoms are strongly deshielded in these metallofullerenes, implying an incorrect earlier interpretation of the experimental 13C NMR spectrum of Sc2C2@C84. The neutral Sc3C2@C80 system with one unpaired electron is further characterised by calculating the hyperfine coupling constants, the g tensor, as well as paramagnetic NMR (pNMR) 13C shifts for both static isomers. The chemical shifts of the confined carbon atoms and the hyperfine coupling constants of all the confined atoms are strongly dependent on the conformation of the Sc3C2 moiety. Consequently, dynamical effects are expected to be important in the modelling of the magnetic properties of endohedral scandium carbide fullerenes. The two low-lying isomers have rather different pNMR 13C shifts, implying the potential of this method in structural assignment.

Graphical abstract: Dynamics and magnetic resonance properties of Sc3C2@C80 and its monoanion

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Jun 2008, accepted on 11 Sep 2008 and first published on 21 Oct 2008

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B811032H
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2008,10, 7158-7168
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    Dynamics and magnetic resonance properties of Sc3C2@C80 and its monoanion

    S. Taubert, M. Straka, T. O. Pennanen, D. Sundholm and J. Vaara, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2008, 10, 7158
    DOI: 10.1039/B811032H

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