High Pressure Studies on Group VI Metal Hexacarbonyl Molecular Solids

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Surendra K. Saxena

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Gautam Sen

Third Advisor's Name

Jiuhua Chen

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arvid Agarwal

Date of Defense



Group VI metal hexacarbonyls, M(CO)6 (M = Cr, Mo and W), are of extreme importance as catalysts in industry and also of fundamental interest due to the established charge transfer mechanism between the carbon monoxide and the metal. They condense to molecular solids at ambient conditions retaining the octahedral (Oh) symmetry of gas phase and have been extensively investigated by previous workers to understand their fundamental chemical bonding and possible industrial applications. However little is known about their behavior at high pressures which is the focus of this dissertation. Metal hexacarbonyls were subjected to high pressures in Diamond-Anvil cells to understand the pressure effect on chemical bonding using Raman scattering in situ.

The high-pressure results on each of the three metal hexacarbonyls are presented and are followed by a critical analysis of the entire family. The Raman study was conducted at pressures up to 45 GPa and X-ray up to 58 GPa. This is followed by a discussion on infra red spectra in conjunction with Raman and X-ray analysis to provide a rationale for polymerization. Finally the probable synthesis of extremely reactive species under high-pressures and as identified via Raman is discussed.

The high-pressure Raman scattering, up to 30 GPa, demonstrated the absence of ri-backbonding. The disappearance of parental Raman spectra for (M = Cr, Mo and W) at 29.6, 23.3 and 22.2 GPa respectively was attributed to the total collapse of the Oh symmetry. This collapse under high-pressure lead to metal-mediated polymeric phase characterized by Raman active S(OCO) feature, originating from intermolecular vibrational coupling in the parent sample. Further increase in pressures up to 45 GPa, did not affect this feature. The pressure quenched Raman spectra, revealed various chemical groups non-characteristic of the parent sample and adsorption of CO in addition to the characteristic 8(OCO) feature. The thus recorded Raman, complemented with the far and mid-infrared pressure quenched spectra, reveal the formation of novel metal-mediated polymers. The X-ray diffraction on W(C0)6 up to 58 GPa revealed the generation of amorphous polymeric pattern which was retained back to ambient conditions.



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