Why do we add one electron to the ligands that have an odd electron number?

For example the cyclopentadienyl ligand has five electrons that can be donated to the metal but when we count the electrons by the ionic method we add one, so it become total of 6 electrons donated to metal.


1 Answer 1


In the ionic method of counting, you are not counting neutral compounds. This is reasonable on a molecular basis: the ligand is, in fact, not cyclopentadiene or the cyclopentadienyl radical (with four or five electrons to be donated) but the cyclopentadienyl anion $\ce{C5H5-}$. This species contains six electrons in its π system, meaning that six are donated.

  • $\begingroup$ As you've mentioned cyclopentadienyl anion has six $\pi$ electrons, so during complex formation does it donate only one electron or two electrons? $\endgroup$
    – Natasha J
    Nov 10, 2023 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ @NatashaJ please reread the last line of my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Nov 12, 2023 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ so basically it has six $\pi$ electrons all of which are donated. I was confused as my professor said that cyclopentadienyl ligand donates only one electron(which is possible only in radical form). $\endgroup$
    – Natasha J
    Nov 14, 2023 at 6:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.