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Coordination Chemistry: Ligands

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Describe, using sketches, how the following ligands can act as both σ-donors and π-acceptors:
CN-
P(CH3)3
SCN-
2. Relevant equations


3. The attempt at a solution

I suspect it has something to do with these ligands having lone pair electrons AND open π* orbitals.
How correct is this and if it is wrong then what is the explanation?
 

TeethWhitener

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I suspect it has something to do with these ligands having lone pair electrons AND open π* orbitals.
How correct is this and if it is wrong then what is the explanation?
This is basically correct. Look up "pi-backbonding" for a good explanation. Bonus fact: Electron backdonation into antibonding orbitals turns out to be really important in catalysis where bond breaking is important.
 

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