Ytterbium(III) chloride

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Ytterbium(III) chloride
Ytterbium(III) chloride.jpg
IUPAC name
Ytterbium(III) chloride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.030.715 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
EC Number
  • 233-800-5
PubChem CID
  • InChI=1S/3ClH.Yb/h3*1H;/q;;;+3/p-3 Yes check.svgY
  • InChI=1/3ClH.Yb/h3*1H;/q;;;+3/p-3
  • Cl[Yb](Cl)Cl
Molar mass 279.40 g/mol
AppearanceWhite powder
Density 4.06 g/cm3 (solid)
Melting point 854 °C (1,569 °F; 1,127 K) [1]
Boiling point 1,453 °C (2,647 °F; 1,726 K) [1]
17 g/100 mL (25 °C)
Monoclinic, mS16
C12/m1, No. 12
Related compounds
Other anions
Ytterbium(III) oxide
Other cations
Terbium(III) chloride, Lutetium(III) chloride
Supplementary data page
Ytterbium(III) chloride (data page)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Ytterbium(III) chloride (Yb Cl3) is an inorganic chemical compound. It reacts with NiCl2 to form a very effective catalyst for the reductive dehalogenation of aryl halides. [2] It is poisonous if injected, and mildly toxic by ingestion. It is an experimental teratogen, known to irritate the skin and eyes. When heated to decomposition it emits toxic fumes of Cl. [3]



The synthesis of YbCl3 was first reported by Jan Hoogschagen in 1946. [4] It is now a commercially available source of Yb3+ ions and therefore of significant chemical interest.

Chemical properties

The valence electron configuration of Yb+3 (from YbCl3) is 4f135s25p6, which has crucial implications for the chemical behaviour of Yb+3. Also, the size of Yb+3 governs its catalytic behaviour and biological applications. For example, while both Ce+3 and Yb+3 have a single unpaired f electron, Ce+3 is much larger than Yb+3 because lanthanides become much smaller with increasing effective nuclear charge as a consequence of the f electrons not being as well shielded as d electrons. [5] This behavior is known as the lanthanide contraction. The small size of Yb+3 produces fast catalytic behavior and an atomic radius (0.99 Å) comparable to many biologically important ions. [5]

The gas-phase thermodynamic properties of this chemical are difficult to determine because the chemical can disproportionate to form [YbCl6]−3 or dimerize. [6] The Yb2Cl6 species was detected by electron impact (EI) mass spectrometry as (Yb2Cl5+). [6] Additional complications in obtaining experimental data arise from the myriad of low-lying f-d and f-f electronic transitions. [7] Despite these issues, the thermodynamic properties of YbCl3 have been obtained and the C3V symmetry group has been assigned based upon the four active infrared vibrations. [7]


Anhydrous ytterbium(III) chloride can be produced by the ammonium chloride route. [8] [9] [10] In the first step, ytterbium oxide is heated with ammonium chloride to produce the ammonium salt of the pentachloride:

Yb2O3 + 10 NH4Cl → 2 (NH4)2YbCl5 + 6 H2O + 6 NH3

In the second step, the ammonium chloride salt is converted to the trichlorides by heating in a vacuum at 350-400 °C:

(NH4)2YbCl5 → YbCl3 + 2 HCl + 2 NH3


YbCl3 is a paramagnetic Lewis acid, like many of the lanthanide chlorides. It gives rise to pseudocontact shifted NMR spectra, akin to NMR shift reagents

Applications in biology

Membrane biology has been greatly influenced by YbCl3, where39K+ and23Na+ ion movement is critical in establishing electrochemical gradients. [11] Nerve signaling is a fundamental aspect of life that may be probed with YbCl3 using NMR techniques. YbCl3 may also be used as a calcium ion probe, in a fashion similar to a sodium ion probe. [12]

YbCl3 is also used to track digestion in animals. Certain additives to swine feed, such as probiotics, may be added to either solid feed or drinking liquids. YbCl3 travels with the solid food and therefore helps determine which food phase is ideal to incorporate the food additive. [13] The YbCl3 concentration is quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to within 0.0009 μg/mL. [5] YbCl3 concentration versus time yields the flow rate of solid particulates in the animal's digestion. The animal is not harmed by the YbCl3 since YbCl3 is simply excreted in fecal matter and no change in body weight, organ weight, or hematocrit levels has been observed in mice. [12]

The catalytic nature of YbCl3 also has an application in DNA microarrays, or so called DNA “chips”. [14] YbCl3 led to a 50–80 fold increase in fluorescein incorporation into target DNA, which could revolutionize infectious disease detection (such as a rapid test for tuberculosis). [14]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coordination complex</span> Molecule or ion containing ligands datively bonded to a central metallic atom

A coordination complex consists of a central atom or ion, which is usually metallic and is called the coordination centre, and a surrounding array of bound molecules or ions, that are in turn known as ligands or complexing agents. Many metal-containing compounds, especially those that include transition metals, are coordination complexes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lanthanum</span> Chemical element, symbol La and atomic number 57

Lanthanum is a chemical element with the symbol La and atomic number 57. It is a soft, ductile, silvery-white metal that tarnishes slowly when exposed to air. It is the eponym of the lanthanide series, a group of 15 similar elements between lanthanum and lutetium in the periodic table, of which lanthanum is the first and the prototype. Lanthanum is traditionally counted among the rare earth elements. Like most other rare earth elements, the usual oxidation state is +3. Lanthanum has no biological role in humans but is essential to some bacteria. It is not particularly toxic to humans but does show some antimicrobial activity.

The lanthanide or lanthanoid series of chemical elements comprises the 15 metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers 57–71, from lanthanum through lutetium. These elements, along with the chemically similar elements scandium and yttrium, are often collectively known as the rare-earth elements or rare-earth metals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terbium</span> Chemical element, symbol Tb and atomic number 65

Terbium is a chemical element with the symbol Tb and atomic number 65. It is a silvery-white, rare earth metal that is malleable, and ductile. The ninth member of the lanthanide series, terbium is a fairly electropositive metal that reacts with water, evolving hydrogen gas. Terbium is never found in nature as a free element, but it is contained in many minerals, including cerite, gadolinite, monazite, xenotime and euxenite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ytterbium</span> Chemical element, symbol Yb and atomic number 70

Ytterbium is a chemical element with the symbol Yb and atomic number 70. It is a metal, the fourteenth and penultimate element in the lanthanide series, which is the basis of the relative stability of its +2 oxidation state. However, like the other lanthanides, its most common oxidation state is +3, as in its oxide, halides, and other compounds. In aqueous solution, like compounds of other late lanthanides, soluble ytterbium compounds form complexes with nine water molecules. Because of its closed-shell electron configuration, its density and melting and boiling points differ significantly from those of most other lanthanides.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cerium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Cerium(III) chloride (CeCl3), also known as cerous chloride or cerium trichloride, is a compound of cerium and chlorine. It is a white hygroscopic salt; it rapidly absorbs water on exposure to moist air to form a hydrate, which appears to be of variable composition, though the heptahydrate CeCl3·7H2O is known. It is highly soluble in water, and (when anhydrous) it is soluble in ethanol and acetone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Praseodymium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Praseodymium(III) chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula PrCl3. Like other lanthanide trichlorides, it exists both in the anhydrous and hydrated forms. It is a blue-green solid that rapidly absorbs water on exposure to moist air to form a light green heptahydrate.

Neodymium(III) chloride or neodymium trichloride is a chemical compound of neodymium and chlorine with the formula NdCl3. This anhydrous compound is a mauve-colored solid that rapidly absorbs water on exposure to air to form a purple-colored hexahydrate, NdCl3·6H2O. Neodymium(III) chloride is produced from minerals monazite and bastnäsite using a complex multistage extraction process. The chloride has several important applications as an intermediate chemical for production of neodymium metal and neodymium-based lasers and optical fibers. Other applications include a catalyst in organic synthesis and in decomposition of waste water contamination, corrosion protection of aluminium and its alloys, and fluorescent labeling of organic molecules (DNA).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samarium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Samarium(III) chloride, also known as samarium trichloride, is an inorganic compound of samarium and chloride. It is a pale yellow salt that rapidly absorbs water to form a hexahydrate, SmCl3.6H2O. The compound has few practical applications but is used in laboratories for research on new compounds of samarium.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Europium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Europium(III) chloride is an inorganic compound with the formula EuCl3. The anhydrous compound is a yellow solid. Being hygroscopic it rapidly absorbs water to form a white crystalline hexahydrate, EuCl3·6H2O, which is colourless. The compound is used in research.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dysprosium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Dysprosium(III) chloride (DyCl3), also known as dysprosium trichloride, is a compound of dysprosium and chlorine. It is a white to yellow solid which rapidly absorbs water on exposure to moist air to form a hexahydrate, DyCl3·6H2O. Simple rapid heating of the hydrate causes partial hydrolysis to an oxychloride, DyOCl.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rhodium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Rhodium(III) chloride refers to inorganic compounds with the formula RhCl3(H2O)n, where n varies from 0 to 3. These are diamagnetic solids featuring octahedral Rh(III) centres. Depending on the value of n, the material is either a dense brown solid or a soluble reddish salt. The soluble trihydrated (n = 3) salt is widely used to prepare compounds used in homogeneous catalysis, notably for the industrial production of acetic acid and hydroformylation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iridium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Iridium(III) chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula IrCl3. The anhydrous compound is relatively rare, but the related hydrate is useful for preparing other iridium compounds. The anhydrous salt is a dark green crystalline solid. More commonly encountered is the trihydrate IrCl3(H2O)3.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Erbium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Erbium(III) chloride is a violet solid with the formula ErCl3. It is used in the preparation of erbium metal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gadolinium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Gadolinium(III) chloride, also known as gadolinium trichloride, is GdCl3. It is a colorless, hygroscopic, water-soluble solid. The hexahydrate GdCl3∙6H2O is commonly encountered and is sometimes also called gadolinium trichloride. Gd3+ species are of special interest because the ion has the maximum number of unpaired spins possible, at least for known elements. With seven valence electrons and seven available f-orbitals, all seven electrons are unpaired and symmetrically arranged around the metal. The high magnetism and high symmetry combine to make Gd3+ a useful component in NMR spectroscopy and MRI.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yttrium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Yttrium(III) chloride is an inorganic compound of yttrium and chloride. It exists in two forms, the hydrate (YCl3(H2O)6) and an anhydrous form (YCl3). Both are colourless solids that are highly soluble in water and deliquescent.

Lanthanum chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula LaCl3. It is a common salt of lanthanum which is mainly used in research. It is a white solid that is highly soluble in water and alcohols.

Lanthanide trichlorides are a family of inorganic compound with the formula LnCl3, where Ln stands for a lanthanide metal. The trichlorides are standard reagents in applied and academic chemistry of the lanthanides. They exist as anhydrous solids and as hydrates.

Ytterbium compounds are chemical compounds that contain the element ytterbium (Yb). The chemical behavior of ytterbium is similar to that of the rest of the lanthanides. Most ytterbium compounds are found in the +3 oxidation state, and its salts in this oxidation state are nearly colorless. Like europium, samarium, and thulium, the trihalides of ytterbium can be reduced to the dihalides by hydrogen, zinc dust, or by the addition of metallic ytterbium. The +2 oxidation state occurs only in solid compounds and reacts in some ways similarly to the alkaline earth metal compounds; for example, ytterbium(II) oxide (YbO) shows the same structure as calcium oxide (CaO).


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