The geometric and electronic structure of an oxidized bimetallic Ni complex incorporating two redox-active Schiff-base ligands connected via a 1,2-phenylene linker has been investigated and compared to a monomeric analogue. Information from UV/Vis/NIR spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and density functional theory (DFT) calculations provides important information on the locus of oxidation for the bimetallic complex. The neutral bimetallic complex is conformationally dynamic at room temperature, which complicates characterization of the oxidized forms. Comparison to an oxidized monomer analogue 1 provides critical insight into the electronic structure of the oxidized bimetallic complex 2. Oxidation of 1 provides [1.]+, which is characterized as a fully delocalized ligand radical complex; the spectroscopic signature of this derivative includes an intense NIR band at 4500 cm−1. Oxidation of 2 to the bis-oxidized form affords a bis-ligand radical species [2..]2+. Variable temperature EPR spectroscopy of [2..]2+ shows no evidence of coupling, and the triplet and broken symmetry solutions afforded by theoretical calculations are essentially isoenergetic. [2..]2+ is thus best described as incorporating two non-interacting ligand radicals. Interestingly, the intense NIR intervalence charge transfer band observed for the delocalized ligand-radical [1.]+ exhibits exciton splitting in [2..]2+, due to coupling of the monomer transition dipoles in the enforced oblique dimer geometry. Evaluating the splitting of the intense intervalence charge transfer band can thus provide significant geometric and electronic information in less rigid bis-ligand radical systems. Addition of excess pyridine to [2..]2+ results in a shift in the oxidation locus from a bis-ligand radical species to the NiIII/NiIII derivative [2(py)4]2+, demonstrating that the ligand system can incorporate significant bulk in the axial positions.
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