First-Principle Investigation of Hypothetical NiF4 Crystal Structures
Lindič, Tilen and Schulz, Anthony and Paulus, Beate – 2022
An important synthetic route for the fluorinated organic compounds is electrochemical fluorination (ECF). This is a process taking place on a nickel anode immersed in anhydrous HF. Even though the mechanism is not fully resolved, it is believed that it involves higher valent nickel fluorides formed on the anode. One such compound could be NiF4. Its synthesis and existence have been reported in the literature. However, its crystal structure has so far remained unknown. In this paper, we present, for the first time, the theoretical study of the possible crystal structure of NiF4. We investigated six crystal structures of known metal tetrafluorides as possible candidates for NiF4 by periodic DFT, with the PBE+U method. Of the investigated structures, the most stable polymorph of NiF4 was found to be of the same crystal structure as RuF4. The unit cell parameters were calculated to be a = 4.80 Å, b = 5.14 Å, c = 5.18 Å and β = 105.26∘. All but one of the investigated structures feature octahedrally coordinated nickel centers with two non-bridging fluorine atoms. In the structure originating from ZrF4, all six fluorine atoms around the nickel centers are bridging and two are located in the vacancies around the nickel skeleton, not directly bound to nickel. The overall magnetic arrangement in all the investigated structures is antiferromagnetic. A comparison with other binary nickel fluorides supports the experimental findings that NiF4 is thermodynamically the least stable.