A combined investigation of the structural, electronic, and optical properties of three crystalline nonaaqualanthanoid(III) triflates, [Ln(H2O)9(CF3SO3)3], has provided unambiguous experimental evidence for charge redistribution in the first coordination sphere of a lanthanide ion as a result of hydrogen bonds with outer-sphere anions. As well as resulting in charge transfer from the noncoordinated anions to the coordinated water molecules, these hydrogen bonds give rise to a new excited state, an hydrogen-bond-induced charge-transfer state, which is observed experimentally for the first time. This state was shown to be responsible for the previously unknown negative aspect of hydrogen bonds with a lanthanide-bound water molecule: rather than increasing the luminescence efficiency of the complex, they can lead to additional quenching that is unfavorable for the task-specific design of optical materials.
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