Concept

Ligand cone angle

Summary
In coordination chemistry, the ligand cone angle (θ) is a measure of the steric bulk of a ligand in a transition metal coordination complex. It is defined as the solid angle formed with the metal at the vertex of a cone and the outermost edge of the van der Waals spheres of the ligand atoms at the perimeter of the base of the cone. Tertiary phosphine ligands are commonly classified using this parameter, but the method can be applied to any ligand. The term cone angle was first introduced by Chadwick A. Tolman, a research chemist at DuPont. Tolman originally developed the method for phosphine ligands in nickel complexes, determining them from measurements of accurate physical models. Asymmetric cases The concept of cone angle is most easily visualized with symmetrical ligands, e.g. PR3. But the approach has been refined to include less symmetrical ligands of the type PRR′R″ as well as diphosphines. In such asymmetric cases, the substituent angles' half angles, ''θ
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