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Book Review Clusters and Colloids. From Theory to Applications. Edited by G. Schmid

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BOOKS
vey of (primarily) molecular clusters according to their nuclearity is given. The
coverage is extensive rather than intensive, and it is arguable whether long reference lists of compounds are particularly
useful at this stage. There are several confusing statements, such as: (p. 68) “The
study of cluster hydrides is of considerable
interest since ... they are intimately associated with important catalytic processes,
e.g. Fischer Troppch (!) processes for ammonia and methane synthesis”; (p. 76)
“Solid angles and distortion degree in
open structures depend on a number of
factors as, for instance, the number of
electrons. the nature of disposable orbitals, and the properties of ligands” ...
and so on ...
Instead of reading the section on
“Bonding in Metal Clusters”. those who
wish to get familiar with this very important aspect of cluster chemistry should
rather consult the original papers cited by
the author. In Sections 2.4 (“Synthesis of
Cluster Compounds”), 2.5 (“Cluster Reactivity”) and 2.6 (“Cluster Catalysis”)
various aspects of these topics are discussed on the basis of the review literature
of the 1980s. Chapter3 is devoted to
“Main Group-Transition Metal Mixed
Clusters”. a chapter which “deals mainly
with compounds in which the main group
elements may be considered as cluster vertexes of the polyhedron.” I found it difficult to appreciate why hydrido clusters,
clusters with interstitial atoms. etc., which
were already in part covered in the previous chapter require a separate section.
The statements in the sub-section 3.1.3 on
“Proton Magnetic Resonance” of hydrido clusters are entirely incorrect and
should be avoided by the reader.
In Chapter 4 several aspects of (among
others) alkali metal suboxides, boranes,
Zintl ions and. more extensively, fullerenes are discussed. The book concludes
with a brief section on iron-sulfur cages
in proteins.
Unfortunately. this book is riddled with
typographical errors, incorrect citations,
journal hybridizations (there are 15 references to “J. A m . Cliem. soc., Dalton
Trans.” in Table 3.2 alone) as well as several factual errors (too many to list in a
review). It is only with these reservations
that it might be useful to the graduate student interested in cluster chemistry.
Clusters and Colloids. From Theory to
Applications. Edited by G. Schnzid.
VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim/
VCH Publishers, New York, 1994.
555 pp., hardcover DM 249.00.ISBN 3-527-29043-511-56081-753-4
Clustrrs cind Colloids edited by G .
Schmid is clearly written for a readership
familiar with the fundamental aspects of
cluster chemistry and colloid science (as is
pointed out by the editor in the introductory chapter). The choice of the topics is
such that this book may complement other currently available monographs on
clusters but. most of all, takes into account the very recent developments in this
area of science. Distinguished researchers
in the fields of high nuclearity cluster
chemistry and colloid science offer a multifaceted and in depth account of the current state of the art.
In the first main section of the book
(Ch. 2) N. Rosch and G. Pacchioni give a
clearly structured and critical survey of
the theoretical methods employed in the
investigation of naked and ligated metal
clusters. The potential and weaknesses of
the different approaches are outlined and
compared, which makes this section excellent reading for those (experimentalists, in
particular) who wish to acquire a sound
“second level” knowledge in this area. A
concise overview of the physical methods
for the investigation of the electronic
structures of clusters is also given, although this part of the chapter is somewhat less critical towards the original
literature.
Chapter 3 by D. Fenske, G. Longoni
and G . Schmid is devoted to the whole
area of ligated high nuclearity clusters
(“Clusters in Ligand Shells”). Longoni’s
survey of low-valent organometallic clusters is probably the best contemporary re-
view of the area of high nuclearity carbony1 clusters, while Fenske gives a well
structured account of the rapidly expanding area of the structural chemistry of
transition metal clusters containing bridging main group elements. Whether
Schmid’s section on “super clusters”,
which clearly lie outside the regime of
“conventional” molecular clusters, would
have been more appropriately placed next
to (or before) the chapter on transition
metal colloids at the end of the book is a
matter of personal taste. The clarity of the
presentation in this section should. however. be commended.
In “Clusters in Cages” (Ch. 4) S. Kawi
and B. C. Gates review investigations of
clusters encapsulated in zeolite cages. Particular emphasis is placed upon the analytical methods used. as is also the case in
J. S. Bradley’s section on “The Chemistry
of Transition Metal Colloids” (Ch. 6).
Both emphasize the importance of
methodological aspects in the development of a field of research, a notion which
is particularly apparent in the long history
of research in colloid chemistry and
physics.
Sandwiched between these two chapters is a survey of “Discrete and Condensed Transition Metal Clusters in
Solids” by A. Simon, covering not only
the structural systematics but also the
structure-property relationships in this
important area of solid state chemistry.
This section is extremely well written and
offers both the “non-solid state” cluster
chemist and the specialist in that area the
quintessence of more than two decades of
research on clusters in solids.
As a whole, this is indeed a well-integrated, readable book and the editor and
contributors are to be congratulated on
their achievement. It is strongly recommended to anyone who wishes to learn
about the more advanced aspects of cluster chemistry and to become addicted to
the beauty of cluster compounds.
Lutz H . Gadr
Institut fur Anorganische Chemie der
Universitlt Wurzburg (Germany)
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