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  1. Joint photoelectron spectroscopy and first-principles theory investigations indicate that the Pb-doped PbB2(BO)nclusters (n= 0−2) undergo a transformation from σ + π doubly aromatic triangle PbB2to PbB4(BO)2−/0complexes with a B≡B triple bond.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 7, 2025
  2. We report the experimental observation and spectroscopic characterization, and structure and bonding analyses of copper–borozene complexes.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  3. We present an investigation on the structures and chemical bonding of two Bi-doped boron clusters BiBn− (n = 4, 5) using photoelectron spectroscopy and theoretical calculations. The electron affinities of BiB4 and BiB5 are measured to be 2.22(2) eV and 2.61(2) eV, respectively. Well-resolved photoelectron spectra are obtained and used to compare with theoretical calculations to verify the structures of BiB4− and BiB5−. Both clusters adopt planar structures with the Bi atom bonded to the periphery of the planar Bn moiety. Chemical bonding analyses reveal that the Bn moiety maintains σ and π double-aromaticity. The Bi atom is found to induce relatively small structural changes to the Bn moiety, very different from transition metal-doped boron clusters.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  4. We report a study on the electronic structure and chemical bonding of the BiB molecule using high-resolution photoelectron imaging of cryogenically cooled BiB− anion. By eliminating all the vibrational hot bands, we can resolve the complicated detachment transitions due to the open-shell nature of BiB and the strong spin–orbit coupling. The electron affinity of BiB is measured to be 2.010(1) eV. The ground state of BiB− is determined to be 2Π(3/2) with a σ2π3 valence electron configuration, while the ground state of BiB is found to be 3Σ−(0+) with a σ2π2 electron configuration. Eight low-lying spin–orbit excited states [3Σ−(1), 1Δ(2), 1Σ+(0+), 3Π(2), 3Π(1), 1Π(1)], including two forbidden transitions, [3Π(0−) and 3Π(0+)], are observed for BiB as a result of electron detachment from the σ and π orbitals of BiB−. The angular distribution information from the photoelectron imaging is found to be critical to distinguish detachment transitions from the σ or π orbital for the spectral assignment. This study provides a wealth of information about the low-lying electronic states and spin–orbit coupling of BiB, demonstrating the importance of cryogenic cooling for obtaining well-resolved photoelectron spectra for size-selected clusters produced from a laser vaporization cluster source.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 21, 2024
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  7. Borophenes are atom-thin boron layers that can be grown on coinage metal substrates and have become an important class of synthetic 2D nanomaterials. The interactions between boron and substrates are critical to understand the growth mechanisms of borophenes. Here, we report an investigation of copper-boron interactions in the Cu 2 B 8 − bimetallic cluster using photoelectron spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations. Well-resolved photoelectron spectra are obtained at several photon energies and are combined with theoretical calculations to elucidate the structures and bonding of Cu 2 B 8 − . Global minimum searches reveal that Cu 2 B 8 − consists of a Cu 2 dimer atop a B 8 molecular wheel with a long Cu–Cu bond length close to that in Cu 2 + . Chemical bonding analyses indicate that there is clear charge transfer from Cu 2 to B 8 , and the Cu 2 B 8 − cluster can be viewed as a [Cu 2 + ]-borozene complex, [Cu 2 + ][B 8 2– ]. In the neutral cluster, no Cu–Cu bond exists and Cu 2 B 8 consists of two Cu + centers interacting with doubly aromatic B 8 2− borozene. The charge transfer interactions between Cu and boron in the Cu 2 B 8 − cluster are analogous to charge transfer from the copper substrate to the first borophene layer recently reported to be critical in the growth of bilayer borophenes on a Cu(111) substrate. 
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  8. The concept of metalla-aromaticity proposed by Thorn–Hoffmann ( Nouv. J. Chim . 1979, 3, 39) has been expanded to organometallic molecules of transition metals that have more than one independent electron-delocalized system. Lanthanides, with highly contracted 4f atomic orbitals, are rarely found in multiply aromatic systems. Here we report the discovery of a doubly aromatic triatomic lanthanide-boron molecule PrB 2 − based on a joint photoelectron spectroscopy and quantum chemical investigation. Global minimum structural searches reveal that PrB 2 − has a C 2v triangular structure with a paramagnetic triplet 3 B 2 electronic ground state, which can be viewed as featuring a trivalent Pr(III,f 2 ) and B 2 4− . Chemical bonding analyses show that this cyclo-PrB 2 − species is the smallest 4f-metalla-aromatic system exhibiting σ and π double aromaticity and multiple Pr–B bonding characters. It also sheds light on the formation of the rare B 2 4− tetraanion by the high-lying 5d orbitals of the 4f-elements, completing the isoelectronic B 2 4− , C 2 2− , N 2 , and O 2 2+ series. 
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  9. Photoelectron spectroscopy and quantum chemistry studies are used to investigate the structure and bonding of AuB 8 − . Global minimum sturctural searches show that AuB 8 − possesses a chair-like structure, which can be viewed as Au + bonded to the edge of the doubly-aromatic B 8 2− borozene, Au + [η 2 -B 8 2− ]. Chemical bonding analyses reveal that the AuB 8 − is a novel borozene complex with unique Au–borozene bonding. 
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