The O-O bond length is often used as a structural indicator to determine the valence states of bound O2 ligands in biological metal-dioxygen intermediates and related biomimetic complexes. Here, we report very distinct O-O bond lengths found for three crystallographic forms (1.229(4), 1.330(4), 1.387(2) Å at 100 K) of a side-on iron-dioxygen species. Despite their different O-O bond distances, all forms possess the same electronic structure of Fe(III)-O2•-, as evidenced by their indistinguishable spectroscopic features. Density functional theory and ab initio calculations, which successfully reproduce spectroscopic parameters, predict a flat potential energy surface of an η2-O2 motif binding to the iron center regarding the O-O distance. Therefore, the discrete O-O bond lengths observed likely arise from differential intermolecular interactions in the second coordination sphere. The work suggests that the O-O distance is not a reliable benchmark to unequivocally identify the valence state of O2 ligands for metal-dioxygen species in O2-utilizing metalloproteins and synthetic complexes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry