To explore the chemical analogy between thorium and heavier actinides in soft anionic environments, three new thorium phosphides (ThCuP2, β-ThCu2P2, and ThCu5P3) have been prepared through solid-state reactions using CuI as a reaction promoter. The structure of ThCuP2 can be described as a filled UTe2-type with both dimeric P24- and monomeric P3- anions, in which Th is coordinated by eight P atoms in a bicapped trigonal prismatic arrangement and Cu is tetrahedrally coordinated by four P atoms. β-ThCu2P2 contains only P3- anions and is isostructural with BaCu2S2. In this structure, Th is coordinated by seven P atoms in monocapped trigonal prismatic geometry and Cu is tetrahedrally coordinated by four P atoms. ThCu5P3 adopts the YCo5P3-type structure consisting of P3- anions. This structure contains Th atoms coordinated by six P atoms in a trigonal prismatic arrangement and Cu atoms that are either tetrahedrally coordinated by four P atoms or square pyramidally coordinated by five P atoms. Electric resistivity measurements and electronic structure calculations on β-ThCu2P2 indicate a metal. These new compounds may be charge-balanced and formulated as Th4+Cu+(P24-)1/2P3-, Th4+(Cu+)2(P3-)2, and Th4+(Cu+)5(P3-)3, respectively. The structural, bonding, and property relationships between these Th compounds and related actinide and rare-earth phases are discussed. Titled compounds display more diverse ion-ion interactions and different electronic structures from those in UCuP2 and UCu2P2 that were synthesized under similar experimental conditions, suggesting divergence of thorium-phosphide chemistry from uranium-phosphide chemistry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Inorganic Chemistry