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Luminescence Behavior & Photochemistry of Organotransition Metal Compounds

  1. Vivian Wing-Wah Yam1,
  2. Kenneth Kam-Wing Lo2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781119951438.eibc0253

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Yam, V. W.-W. and Lo, K. K.-W. 2011. Luminescence Behavior & Photochemistry of Organotransition Metal Compounds. Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

  2. 2

    City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2011


In this article, the luminescence and photochemical properties of a selection of organotransition metal compounds are reviewed and discussed. The examples are classified according to the identity of the carbon-containing ligands, which include the carbonyl, isocyanide, cyanide, alkynyl, alkenyl, arene, aryl, alkylidene, alkylidyne, cyclometalating, and alkyl ligands. The luminescence and photochemistry of selected tungsten, molybdenum, and rhenium carbonyl compounds are described in this article, followed by some examples with the analogous isocyanide and cyanide ligands. The luminescence properties and potential applications of these systems are discussed. Transition metal complexes containing alkynyl ligands display a very wide structural diversity and catalytic properties, and many systems also show intriguing photoluminescence properties, especially those of rhenium(I), platinum(II), palladium(II), and the coinage metals. Studies focused on the photophysical studies and the excited-state chemistry of selected alkynyl systems and related alkenyl, arene, and aryl complexes are outlined and discussed. Luminescent metal–carbon multiple bonded systems including the alkylidene and alkylidyne compounds have received relatively little attention, and examples have been confined to the complexes of molybdenum and tungsten. However, much effort has recently been devoted to exploring the interesting emission properties of alkylidene and alkylidyne systems with other metal centers such as rhenium, ruthenium, osmium, platinum, and coinage metals, which are outlined in this article. Some recent examples in the areas of cyclometalated complexes, especially those of rhodium(III), iridium(III), platinum(II), and gold(III) centers are highlighted in this article as many examples display impressive photophysical and photochemical behavior. Metal alkyl systems represent a special class of luminescent organometallic system due to their strong σ-donating properties of the alkyl ligands, and the photophysical and excited-state properties of some selected examples are described. Finally, luminescent organotransition metal compounds with application potentials in the development of new materials, photodevices, and sensory systems are summarized in various parts of this article.


  • excited states;
  • luminescence;
  • metal–carbon bonds;
  • molecular orbitals;
  • organometallics;
  • photochemistry;
  • photophysics;
  • transition metals