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Why do transition metals form coloured complexes?

Why do transition metals form coloured complexes?

Grade:11

1 Answers

Suraj Prasad IIT Patna
askIITians Faculty 286 Points
6 years ago
Transition metal complexes have colour because the ligands bonding to the central metal atom or ion cause the d-orbitals to have different energies, that is, they are no longer degenerate. In octahedral complexes, the dx2-y2 and the dz2 orbitals are higher in energy than the dxy, dxz and the dyz orbitals. Meanwhile, in tetrahedral complexes, the dxy, dxz and the dyz orbitals are higher in energy than the dx2-y2 and the dz2 orbitals. The energy difference between the orbitals corresponds to some frequency of visible light and the lower energy electrons absorb that energy associated with that frequency of light. When the light is emitted from the substance, the observer sees all the colours except that one absorbed by the substance.

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