The chemical consequences of the gradual decrease of the ionic radius along the Ln-series

Joop A. Peters*, Kristina Djanashvili, Carlos F.G.C. Geraldes, Carlos Platas-Iglesias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
123 Downloads (Pure)


In the periodical system, the lanthanides (the 15 elements in the periodic table between barium and hafnium) are unique in the sense that their trivalent cations have their valence electrons hidden behind the 5s and 5p electrons. They show a gradual decrease in ionic radius with increasing atomic number (also known as the lanthanide contraction). The resulting steric effects determine to a large extent the geometries of complexes of these ions. Here, we discuss these effects, particularly upon the properties of the complexes in aqueous solution, for selected families of Ln3+-complexes of oxycarboxylate and aminocarboxylate ligands. The physical properties of the cations are very different, which is very useful for the elucidation of the configuration, conformation and the dynamics of the complexes by X-ray techniques, NMR spectroscopy, and optical techniques. Often the structural analysis is assisted by computational methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number213146
Number of pages27
JournalCoordination Chemistry Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Computational methods
  • Lanthanide contraction
  • NMR
  • Solution structures
  • X-ray crystallography


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