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Ammine Lanthanum and Cerium Borohydrides, M(BH4)3· nNH3; Trends in Synthesis, Structures, and Thermal Properties

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Ammine metal borohydrides show potential for solid-state hydrogen storage and can be tailored toward hydrogen release at low temperatures. Here, we report the synthesis and structural characterization of seven new ammine metal borohydrides, M(BH4)3·nNH3, M = La (n = 6, 4, or 3) or Ce (n = 6, 5, 4, or 3). The two compounds with n = 6 are isostructural and have new orthorhombic structure types (space group P21212) built from cationic complexes, [M(NH3)6(BH4)2]+, and are charge balanced by BH4-. The structure of Ce(BH4)3·5NH3 is orthorhombic (space group C2221) and is built from cationic complexes, [Ce(NH3)5(BH4)2]+, and charge balanced by BH4-. These are rare examples of borohydride complexes acting both as a ligand and as a counterion in the same compound. The structures of M(BH4)3·4NH3 are monoclinic (space group C2), built from neutral molecular complexes of [M(NH3)4(BH4)3]. The new compositions, M(BH4)3·3NH3 (M = La, Ce), among ammine metal borohydrides, are orthorhombic (space group Pna21), containing molecular complexes of [M(NH3)3(BH4)3]. A revised structural model for A(BH4)3·5NH3 (A = Y, Gd, Dy) is presented, and the previously reported composition A(BH4)3·4NH3 (A = Y, La, Gd, Dy) is proposed in fact to be M(BH4)3·3NH3 along with a new structural model. The temperature-dependent structural properties and decomposition are investigated by in situ synchrotron radiation powder X-ray diffraction in vacuum and argon atmosphere and by thermal analysis combined with mass spectrometry. The compounds with n = 6, 5, and 4 mainly release ammonia at low temperatures, while hydrogen evolution occurs for M(BH4)3·3NH3 (M = La, Ce). Gas-release temperatures and gas composition from these compounds depend on the physical conditions and on the relative stability of M(BH4)3·nNH3 and M(BH4)3

Original languageEnglish
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Pages (from-to)7768-7778
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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