Crystal and Molecular Structures of Hexamethyltungsten and Hexamethylrhenium

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Science  02 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5249, pp. 626-628
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5249.626


The structure of hexamethyltungsten, W(CH3)6, was determined by x-ray single-crystal diffraction at −163°C. The molecule has a strongly distorted trigonal prismatic structure with C3v symmetry. This irregular structure is not a result of intermolecular forces, but rather represents its true molecular structure. A similar structure, which deviates less from the ideal trigonal prismatic structure, was determined for hexamethylrhenium, Re(CH3)6. Although these structures violate the simplistic models used to predict the geometry of molecules, they are at least in part explainable by the molecular orbital model.