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Chem Soc Rev. 2002 May;31(3):168-84.

Optical transitions of symmetrical mixed-valence systems in the Class II-III transition regime.

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Chemistry Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973-5000, USA.


In the Robin and Day classification, mixed-valence systems are characterized as Class I, II or III depending on the strength of the electronic interaction between the oxidized and reduced sites, ranging from essentially zero (Class I), to moderate (Class II), to very strong electronic coupling (Class III). The properties of Class I systems are essentially those of the separate sites. Class II systems possess new optical and electronic properties in addition to those of the separate sites. However, the interaction between the sites is sufficiently weak that Class II systems are valence trapped or charge localized and can the be described by a double-well potential. In Class III systems the interaction of the donor and acceptor sites is so great that two separate minima are no longer discernible and the energy surface features a single minimum. The electron is delocalized and the system has its own unique properties. The Robin and Day classification has enjoyed considerable success and most of the redox systems studied to date are readily assigned to Class II. However the situation becomes much more complicated when the system shows borderline Class II/III behavior. Such "almost delocalized" mixed-valence systems are difficult to characterize. In this article spectral band shapes and intensities are calculated utilizing increasingly complex models including two to four states. Free-energy surfaces are constructed for harmonic diabetic surfaces and characterized as a function of increasing electronic coupling to simulate the Class II to III transition. The properties of the charge-transfer absorption bands predicted for borderline mixed-valence systems are compared with experimental data. The treatment is restricted to symmetrical (delta G0 = 0) systems.


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