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.