Magnetic Moments of Transition Metals

Magnetic moments are often used in conjunction with electronic spectra to gain information about the oxidation number and stereochemistry of the central metal ion in coordination complexes. A common laboratory procedure for the determination of the magnetic moment for a complex is the Gouy method which involves weighing a sample of the complex in the presence and absence of a magnetic field and observing the difference in weight. A template is provided for the calculations involved.

For first row transition metal ions in the free ion state, i.e. isolated ions in a vacuum, all 5 of the 3d orbitals are degenerate.

A simple crystal field theory approach to the bonding in these ions assumes that when they form octahedral complexes, the energy of the d orbitals are no longer degenerate but are split such that two orbitals, the dx2-y2 and the dz2 (eg subset) are at higher energy than the dxy, dxz, dyz orbitals (the t2g subset).

For octahedral ions with between 4 and 7 d electrons, this gives rise to 2 possible arrangements called either high spin/weak field or low spin/strong field respectively. The energy gap is dependent on the position of the coordinated ligands in the SPECTROCHEMICAL SERIES.