Aromaticity is an important concept in chemistry primarily for organic compounds, but it has been extended to compounds containing transition-metal atoms. Recent findings of aromaticity and antiaromaticity in all-metal clusters have stimulated further research in describing the chemical bonding, structures and stability in transition-metal clusters and compounds on the basis of aromaticity and antiaromaticity, which are reviewed here. The presence of d-orbitals endows much more diverse chemistry, structure and chemical bonding to transition-metal clusters and compounds. One interesting feature is the existence of a new type of aromaticity—δ-aromaticity, in addition to σ- and π-aromaticity which are the only possible types for main-group compounds. Another striking characteristic in the chemical bonding of transition-metal systems is the multi-fold nature of aromaticity, antiaromaticity or even conflicting aromaticity. Separate sets of counting rules have been proposed for cyclic transition-metal systems to account for the three types of σ-, π- and δ-aromaticity/antiaromaticity. The diverse transition-metal clusters and compounds reviewed here indicate that multiple aromaticity and antiaromaticity may be much more common in chemistry than one would anticipate. It is hoped that the current review will stimulate interest in further understanding the structure and bonding, on the basis of aromaticity and antiaromaticity, of other known or unknown transition-metal systems, such as the active sites of enzymes or other biomolecules which contain transition-metal atoms and clusters.
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