Magnetic properties of compounds and phases feature in undergraduate science courses in part because of their current technological importance
Magnetism and transition metal complexes
F E Mabbs and D J Machin
Mineola, US: Dover Publications2008 | 206pp | ?9.72 (SB) ISBN 9780486462844
Reviewed by David Collison
Magnetic properties of compounds and phases feature in undergraduate science courses in part because of their current technological importance, but also because of worldwide research in ’molecular magnetism’ - that is clusters, cages, rings, 1-, 2- and 3-D arrays of paramagnetic metal ions. In order to understand the magnetic properties of a ’molecular magnet’ it is essential to understand those of the building blocks - the individual paramagnetic centres. And what is required for that understanding? It is crystal (and ligand) field theory. The republication of this splendid didactic text concerned with the magnetism of d-transition metal complexes provides the basis in a single, accessible and well presented source.
Several different concepts need to be understood and combined to describe the magnetic signature of a given metal ion in a particular geometry. This text uses the classic style of carefully building up complexity, and certainly the authors recognise, and tell the reader, when there is ’a difficult bit’ coming up. They guide, analyse and explain with superb pedagogy. Although originally published in 1973, this new version, with some corrections, has not dated. Indeed the readers themselves may easily be able to perform calculations outlined by the authors using their own laptop (compared to the mainframe computing time that had to be relied upon then) and so reinforce their understanding. The two new prefaces, by Lord Lewis and Dante Gatteschi, brilliantly set the magnetic scene, and must not be overlooked by the reader.
As well as magnetism, this book is also a very high quality resource for crystal and ligand field theory. The authors know their topic inside out, and have the skill to explain with clarity and to pass on their wider knowledge and insight to the reader. This is an essential item on the bookshelf of chemists and physicists working with the magnetic properties of the d-transition metals, and also those seeking to learn more than that found in modern standard undergraduate texts about applications of crystal field theory.