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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Oct 22;130(42):13876-84. doi: 10.1021/ja802514q. Epub 2008 Sep 26.

Probing the self-assembly of inorganic cluster architectures in solution with cryospray mass spectrometry: growth of polyoxomolybdate clusters and polymers mediated by silver(I) ions.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, WestCHEM, The University of Glasgow, UK.


Cryospray mass spectrometry (CSI-MS) has been used to probe the mechanism of self-assembly of polyoxometalate clusters in solution. By using CSI-MS and electronic absorbance spectroscopy it was possible to monitor in real-time the self-assembly of polymeric chains based on [Ag 2Mo 8O 26] (2-) n building blocks. The role of the Ag (I) ion in the solution state rearrangement of molybdenum Lindqvist ({Mo 6}) into the silver-linked beta-octamolybdate ({Mo 8}) structure (( n-C 4H 9) 4N) 2 n [Ag 2Mo 8O 26] n ( 1) is revealed in unprecedented detail. A monoanionic series, in particular [AgMo m O 3 m+1 ] (-) where m = 2 to 4, and series involving mixed oxidation state polyoxomolybdate species, which illustrate the in-solution formation of the (Ag{Mo 8}Ag) building blocks, have been observed. CSI-MS detection of species with increasing metal nuclearity concomitant with increasing organic cation contribution supports the hypothesis that the organic cations used in the synthesis play an important structure-directing role in polyoxometalate (POM) growth in solution. A real-time decrease in [{Mo 6}] and associated increase in [{Mo 8}] have been observed using CSI-MS and electronic absorbance spectroscopy, and the rate of {Mo 6} interconversion to {Mo 8} was found to decrease on increasing the size of the countercation. This result can be attributed to the steric bulk of larger organic groups hindering {Mo 6} to {Mo 8} rearrangement and hindering the contact between silver cations and molybdenum anions.

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