Phosphorus pentafluoride

Phosphorus Pentafluoride

Phosphorus pentafluoride

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Phosphorus pentafluoride, PF<sub>5</sub>, is a phosphorus halide. It's a colourless gas at room temperature and pressure.


Single-crystal X-ray studies indicate PF<sub>5</sub> molecule has two distinct P−F bonds (axial and equatorial): P−F<sub>ax</sub> = 158.0 pm and P−F<sub>eq</sub> = 152.2 pm. Gas-phase electron diffraction analysis gives similar values: P−F<sub>ax</sub> = 158 pm and P−F<sub>eq</sub> = 153 pm.

Fluorine-19 NMR spectroscopy, at temperatures as low as −100 °C fails to distinguish the axial from the equatorial fluorine environments. The apparent equivalency arises from the low barrier for pseudorotation via the Berry mechanism, by which the axial and equatorial fluorine atoms rapidly exchange positions. The apparent equivalency of the F centers in PF<sub>5</sub> was first noted by Gutowsky. The explanation was first described by R. Stephen Berry, after whom the Berry mechanism is named. Berry pseudorotation influences the <sup>19</sup>F NMR spectrum of PF<sub>5</sub> since NMR spectroscopy operates on a millisecond timescale. Electron diffraction and X-ray crystallography do not detect this effect as their timescales are significantly shorter than for NMR spectroscopy.


Phosphorus pentafluoride
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