Effects of bimetallic doping on small cyclic and tubular boron clusters: B7M2 and B14M2 structures with M = Fe, Co†
Using density functional theory with the TPSSh functional and the 6-311+G(d) basis set, we extensively searched for the global minima of two metallic atoms doped boron clusters B6M2, B7M2, B12M2 and B14M2 with transition metal element M being Co and Fe. Structural identifications reveal that B7Co2, B7Fe2 and B7CoFe clusters have global minima in a B-cyclic motif, in which a perfectly planar B7 is coordinated with two metallic atoms placed along the C7 axis. The B6 cluster is too small to form a cycle with the presence of two metals. Similarly, the B12 cluster is not large enough to stabilize the metallic dimer within a double ring 2 × B6 tube. The doped B14M2 clusters including B14Co2, B14Fe2 and B14CoFe have a double ring 2 × B7 tubular shape in which one metal atom is encapsulated by the B14 tube and the other is located at an exposed position. Dissociation energies demonstrate that while bimetallic cyclic cluster B7M2 prefers a fragmentation channel that generates the B7 global minimum plus metallic dimer, the tubular structure B14M2 tends to dissociate giving a bimetallic cyclic structure B7M2 and a B@B6 cluster. The enhanced stability of the bimetallic doped boron clusters considered can be understood from the stabilizing interactions between the anti-bonding MOs of metal–metal dimers and the levels of a disk aromatic configuration (for bimetallic cyclic structures), or the eigenstates of the B14 tubular form (in case of bimetallic tubular structure).