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Chemistry of Coordination Compounds

The colors associated with chemistry are not only beautiful—they are also informative, providing insights into the structure and bonding of matter. Compounds of the transition metals constitute an important group of colored substances. Some of them are used in paint pigments; others produce the colors in glass and precious gems. Why do these compounds have color, and why do these colors change as the ions or molecules bonded to the metal change? The chemistry that we explore in this chapter will help us to answer these questions.

In earlier chapters we have seen that metal ions can function as Lewis acids, forming covalent bonds with a variety of molecules and ions that function as Lewis bases. (Section 16.11) We have encountered many ions and compounds that result from such interactions. We discussed [Fe(H2O)6]3+ and [Ag(NH3)2]+, for example, in our coverage of equilibria in Sections 16.11 and 17.5. Hemoglobin, an important iron complex, is responsible for the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. (Sections 13.6 and 18.4) In Section 23.3 we saw that hydrometallurgy depends on the formation of species such as [Au(CN)2]-. In this chapter we will focus on the rich and important chemistry associated with such complex assemblies of metals surrounded by molecules and ions. Metal compounds of this kind are called coordination compounds.

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