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Acta Cryst. (1997). B53, 323

Early transition metal clusters with pi-donor ligands

Edited by M. H. Chisholm

Pp. xii + 289. Weinheim: VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1995
Price DM 185.00. ISBN 1-56081-684-8

Transition-metal cluster complexes traditionally fall into two distinct categories: those with pi-acceptor ligands, mostly containing late transition metals in low oxidation states; and those with pi-donor ligands, mostly containing early transition metals in high oxidation states. The editors of this VCH series of books on the chemistry of metal clusters do not break with this tradition. Following a book concentrating on the first category [(1990). The Chemistry of Metal Cluster Complexes, edited by D. F Shriver, H. D. Kaesz and R. D. Adams. Weinheim: VCH], this companion volume focuses on the second.

The treatment of the subject is far from exhaustive, the book being a collection of six inter-related monographs by leading authorities in the field. The topics covered are: halide-supported octahedral clusters of zirconium; clusters and metal-metal-bonded chains in molybdenum oxide systems; chalcogenide cluster complexes of the early transition metals; alkoxide clusters of molybdenum and tungsten; metal oxo clusters in molybdenum and vanadium phosphate solids; organophosphonate and organoarsonate complexes with oxovanadium and oxomolybdenum cores. The book has therefore no pretensions to be other than a selective coverage and viewed in that light, it succeeds admirably. The chosen topics are coherent, the text is clear and the diagrams (almost all of which are of crystal structures) are unambiguous and pertinent, although the lack of colour reduces the impact of some illustrations, particularly those in Chapters 5 and 6. I found the index, which should be an important part of a book of this kind, to be no more than adequate, a defect partly compensated by a well conceived and informative table of contents.

It was no accident that the rapid development of transition-metal cluster chemistry and the routine use of single-crystal diffraction techniques by inorganic chemists were coincident and the intimate relationship between the two is very apparent throughout the book. All six chapters are fundamentally underpinned by solid-state structures of clusters and, although a detailed discussion of structural parameters is not always forthcoming, all the chapters provide good access to the primary literature. Thus, the book may be seen as a key overview of the area from a structural point of view, the text providing an appropriate chemical context for the illustrated crystal structures. The book is, therefore, of special value to interested crystallographers as well as to synthetic chemists, with the wealth of structural information it provides suggesting avenues for further systematic study and encouraging the continuing development of rational low-temperature synthetic methods.

Matthew G. Davidson

Department of Chemistry
Durham University
Durham DH1 3LE

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