The study of magnetic properties, especially the magnetic anisotropy of iron–porphyrin complexes employing multiconfigurational methods, is quite challenging due to many strongly correlated electrons in nearly degenerate orbitals. However, a prerequisite for observing the magnetic anisotropy and slow magnetization relaxation, the zero-field splitting parameter, D, was experimentally observed decades ago for halide-based axially ligated penta-coordinate Fe(III)–porphyrins. In these complexes, the signs of D were reported mostly as positive; in a few cases, inconclusive signs of the D parameter were also mentioned. However, no ab initio calculations have been reported to shed light on this. Deciphering the electronic structure of these penta-coordinated complexes employing the complete active space self-consistent field method and N-electron valence second-order perturbation theory, we confirm the positive D values. However, a negative D value is highly desired to observe the single-molecule magnet properties without an external magnetic field, which we observed in the Fe(II)–porphyrin complexes with axial imidazole ligands instead of halide ligands. The detailed analysis of the multireference wave functions unravels the role of axial ligands in determining the sign and magnitude of the D parameters.


We are working at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology Mohali, one of the leading research institutes in India in the field of Nano Science. INST is located in Chandigarh, one of the major cities of India.

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