Composed in the f-block: solution structure and function of kinetically inert lanthanide(iii) complexes†
It has been more than 15 years since the last authoritative report on the solution structure of lanthanide complexes made from cylcen derived polydentate ligands. The field has progressed and diversified, and tools have been developed that should enable a step-change in the field in the imminent future. This will only happen if the tools are used, and the results communicated in a form that is consistent within the field and readily accesible to scientists outside the field. In this perspective, the fundamental tools for designing and investigating kinetically inert lanthanide complexes in solution will be covered. The fundamentals of this type of complexes will be laid out. The conformations of lanthanide complexes from cyclen derived ligands and the rate of exchange between conformations will be linked to their 1H NMR and luminescence spectra. The information rich ligand- and metal centred emission spectra will be discussed, and the time-resolved luminescence decay lifetimes are shown to be directly related to the solution structure. The aim is to provide the reader with the information needed to become excited by lanthanide coordination chemistry.