The geometry of transition metals

Transition metal ions, however, present a quite different case. The transition elements, i.e. those between Sc and Zn and their congeners "below", are so named because in each of the three series their outer d oribtals undergo a "transition" in type as nuclear charge increases. The d-orbitals are initially of high energy (and unoccupied in the neutral atoms of groups IA-IIIA) but progressively stabilise across each of the series, becoming filled and essentially part of the core in groups IIB, etc.; in between these two extremes, the d-orbitals are the principal valence orbitals. The d subshell is only partially filled in the transition elements themselves, which property can profoundly influence the geometry of their complexes. The observed geometries are not explicable in terms of VSEPR theory.

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